Medical Center Portsmouth, Va., following a complex surgery performed on Kutilek for injuries sustained during an enemy firefight in Afghanistan in March 2010.

NMCSD’s Concierges Setting the Customer Service Standard

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Galvin, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and Navy Medicine West (NMW), Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham (right), and NMCSD’s Deputy Commander, Capt. Lisa Mulligan (left), pose with members of the concierge team in honor of the concierge’s first day of operations. The concierge service was initiated Dec. 20, 2013 to greet beneficiaries that enter the campus and assist with any questions patients, guests, or visitors may have. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin W. Galvin)
Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and Navy Medicine West (NMW), Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham (right), and NMCSD’s Deputy Commander, Capt. Lisa Mulligan (left), pose with members of the concierge team in honor of the concierge’s first day of operations. The concierge service was initiated Dec. 20, 2013 to greet beneficiaries that enter the campus and assist with any questions patients, guests, or visitors may have. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin W. Galvin)

Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) continues to represent the highest quality of customer satisfaction with the Dec. 20, 2013 installment of concierge services located at the Flag Circle entrance to the hospital.

The concierge service team was initiated to greet each and every beneficiary that enters the campus and gladly assists with any questions they may have.

The concierge service has been brought to life by the Commander of NMCSD and Navy Medicine West Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham, with the mission to provide top-tier customer service to all guests that arrive at the hospital.

“The core idea… is that the customer service should be starting as soon as possible,” said Naval Aircrewmen Mechanical 2nd Class Kirtland J. Kack, leading petty officer of NMCSD’s concierge team. “Instead of being first greeted and helped when patients arrive at their appointments, we want to be there supporting them before they even step foot out of their cars.”

However, Kack’s three-person-team does more than just greet incoming patients. After having been up and running for one month, the team has expanded their services to include helping patients in or out of their vehicles, providing maps of the various buildings and departments within the hospital, or answering general information questions. The staff also uses the duty phone to alert departments of incoming patients if emergency drop-offs arise. The team is even equipped with a golf cart that can be used to bring patients to and from appointments if needed.

Another important aspect of the job is to make sure that no vehicles are left unattended in the immediate drop-off/pickup area, said Kack. Keeping the area open and free flowing is of upmost importance in case of emergency situations.

“Approximately 10 to 15 patients an hour come through the flag circle entrance needing the assistance of the concierges,” said Hospitalman Kenneth T. Walker, assigned to NMCSD’s concierge team. “At times throughout the day we see heavy traffic, but no matter how busy it becomes we strive to bring quality service to everyone.”

Even seemingly small efforts put forth by the team have made positive impacts on the patients.

“Just last week a woman in visible pain who was about to go into labor, was walking with her husband at a snail’s pace all the way from the parking lot,” said Kack. “Without even hesitating, one of the concierges ran and retrieved a wheelchair for her and helped get them to labor and delivery.”

It’s moments like this, where the staff can offer help and relief to the patients that leave the concierge team with a gratifying feeling of accomplishment, according to Kack. “The husband thanked us profusely. This may seem like a small deal to some, but that couple was able to get to labor and delivery just a bit sooner than expected.”

In the near future, the concierge team will be equipped with a computer station so the team can quickly access the NMCSD Intranet for information on the more difficult hospital related questions they are asked.

The team is also working toward a permanent booth enclosure and even the addition of a second concierge booth at an adjacent drop-off/pickup area in the immediate future.

The concierge staff is currently inviting other staff to join the team and be a part of this invaluable customer service initiative. On the job training is provided for staff and volunteers with a convenient shift rotation system, which allows Sailors time for other volunteer opportunities, time to work on their continuing education, or to join one of the many clubs and associations at the hospital.

“Being a part of a brand new program, and helping build its foundation, is very satisfying,” said Kack. “Any driven Sailor strives to raise the bar when they take on a program that is new to them, but few Sailors get the opportunity to set the bar. This is one of those opportunities.”

For more information about Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/NMC_SD.

For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.navy.mil/local/sd/.