5 Star Review for Teamwork at the Vaccine Centre

I had my Covid-19 vaccine earlier this week. I was in awe of the smoothness of the process and proud of the fact that the roll-out in the UK is going at such a tremendous pace.  But secretly, I was watching the teamwork of the people at the vaccine centre.  This is what I learned.

Let’s assess my (customer) experience against 6 criteria.

Communication with the customer
I had clear instructions of where to go and when to be there.  That’s pretty standard.  However, on arrival, I was met with a long snaking queue outside the vaccine centre building. Two men (obviously in masks) said hello and confirmed that I had a booked appointment, explained the process whilst I was outside and directed me to the end of the queue.  Now this all sounds ‘normal’.  But they are doing this all day, every day – and probably every 30 seconds or so, for 12 hours, every day. That can’t be easy.  But they were polite, friendly and their communication was crystal clear.

Processes and Procedures
Queue chaperones made sure that the people in the queue maintained social distancing.  The Chief chaperone had a list of people who had booked appointments in our particular hour-long slot.  He ticked people from his list and explained the process once we reached the entrance – pointing to his Hi-Viz teammate 50 yards away.

Once I was in the building, a “Welcomer” pointed me to Arrival Desk #6 (like a Post-Office queue or ‘Cashier Number 6 please’).  A pair of staff took my Booking Reference, cross-checked my personal details, asked my ethnic background data (sensitively) and handed me THE VACCINE CARD.
I was pointed to “Gary” over there in another Hi-Viz and duly waited with him to explain the next step.  Gary directed me to Julie who was managing entry to the Vaccine Delivery room.  The fact that they all knew each other’s names surprised me.  I don’t know why.  I maybe presume that this had been hastily thrown together and there would be gaps in the process and delays whilst they got their act together.  None of that happened.

Julie directed me to Pod#1 where two medical staff were screened off from the rest of the room.  There were about a dozen or so of these Pods in the room.  More clear explanations of what was happening, which version of the vaccine, some more data checking and then some medical advice about not driving for 15 minutes.

Teamwork and Morale
The whole thing felt a bit like the London 2012 Olympics.  Staffed by people who were called into action for their country to make sure that large numbers of people had the best experience possible attending something they had never before witnessed in their lifetime and had no experience of.  And to do it all with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.

Employee Engagement
Were the staff at the vaccine centre ‘engaged’?  Impossible to know from my brief visit there.  Staff at the vaccine centre must surely feel a sense of pride in what they’re helping our country to achieve and also must surely feel that they are valued and appreciated.  The number of times I could overhear ‘customers’ thanking the staff for their help was astounding. I know British people are traditionally polite, but this was at another level. 

Here’s the kicker for me.

I spent about 20 minutes in the snaking queue outside the building.  I didn’t go more than a couple of minutes without one of the chaperones wandering past and checking we were all behaving ourselves in terms of social distancing.   Once inside the building, I had 2 minutes with the Welcome Committee.  Then I was in and out of the Pod in 3 minutes. 

So, 20 minutes outside and then the well-oiled team machine inside the building processed me in about 5 minutes. That’s astonishing.

That means that they’re vaccinating about 12 people every 3 minutes.  That’s 240 each hour.  That’s a capacity of 3,000 people across a 12-hour day at this vaccine centre alone. 

Maybe there are ‘targets’ for each Vaccination Centre.  Maybe these targets are purely numerical.  It’s just a numbers game after all.  But these people should be recognised for providing something smooth and super efficient in a hugely customer-centric way.

Overall Customer Service
My vaccine centre was at a University site in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.  I’m namechecking it because that’s the right thing to do.  The people were amazing.  And deserve massive credit.  Not just some of the people.  All of the people.  Thank you.  So much.  If I could leave a 5 Star Review, I most certainly would.

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