North Big Horn Hospital employee Jenna VanKirk was presented with the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce Customer Service Award on Monday during the organization’s monthly luncheon meeting at the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant in Lovell.
VanKirk, an eight-year employee in the hospital’s laboratory department, was selected by a committee after about a half dozen patients of the hospital nominated her for the honor.
VanKirk, a phlebotomist at the hospital, said she was completely taken back by the honor, since she thought she was attending the meeting to do a presentation to the chamber about her department’s wellness program. Her direct supervisor Kathy Walker said she wasn’t surprised at all, since she has long considered VanKirk a shining example of the kind of customer service employees at the lab strive to achieve.
Those taking the time to submit written comments about VanKirk said she was “friendly” and “very experienced at her job.” Comments like “best phlebotomist ever” and “best sticker around” were also offered. One patient noted that VanKirk provided “excellent customer service no matter how busy the laboratory is,” adding that “she’s always been a charm to those patients who need lab services.” Another commented that VanKirk was “very caring and awesome at her job.”
The Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce award was designed to reward employees like VanKirk and the businesses they work for by allowing customers to offer comments submitted in writing at the place of service.
Nomination forms and ballot boxes for the award are available in businesses throughout the community that are Chamber members. A committee reviews the completed entry forms on a monthly basis and selects the employee who will be honored that month. VanKirk is the second employee to receive the honor since the program began a few months ago. She received a gift of $25 worth of chamber bucks and the employee’s business becomes the temporary home of a traveling hospitality mascot, Rio the Wild Mustang. The next employee will be named at the Chamber’s general meeting on Dec. 19.
Chamber office manager Victoria Dickson said response to the new program has been excellent so far. A new employee will be selected each month to receive the honor.