Sunday was Valentine’s Day. It also was the second anniversary of the day that Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon launched CMSD’s Communicate with HEART customer-service program
HEART is based on a model that the Cleveland Clinic provided to the District at no cost.
HEART consists of two parts: The first is the START with Heart customer-service training program. START stands for Smile and greet warmly; Tell your name, role and what to expect; Active listening and assist; Rapport and relationship building; and Thank the person.
The Respond with HEART service-recovery program comes into play when someone has a concern. In that case, HEART stands for Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Respond and Thank.
The Clinic helped the District get the program off the ground. CMSD trainers then taught the program’s principles and practices to all of the school system’s employees.
HEART’s goal is to make sure employees treat all their “customers” – students, parents, other members of the public and co-workers – with care and respect.
The training’s impact is particularly evident when employees comment on actions they regard as not being HEART-like, said Bill Stencil, a manager in the District’s Humanware program. Humanware embodies a variety of initiatives designed to make students feel safe and supported.
“It’s brought awareness, that’s probably the biggest thing,” said Stencil, who helps administer HEART. “That awareness seems to be growing.”
CMSD will celebrate the anniversary all week, culminating Friday, when the District makes surprise presentations to six employees who have exhibited exemplary customer service. Employees are honored quarterly with treats and gift cards for the Executive Grille, run by culinary-arts students at CMSD’s Jane Addams Business Careers Center.