Sunday, September 29, 2013


I work in a customer/client driven workplace.

My clients have every right to expect the best from me and my staff.

Not only because they pay a fee for our service but because they entrust to us their precious children.

And sometimes they have complaints.

No one loves dealing with a complaint. However a respectfully asked question or query or complaint is one of the best ways of helping us to a) do our job better or b) help us articulate why we do what we do or c) help us find a new way of doing something.

I found it somewhat revolutionary several years ago to read an article that reframed a parent complaint as a parent actually doing their job to secure their opinion of the very best care their child deserves.

I now do my best to hear a complaint through that filter...... this is a parent advocating for what they think they want / need for their child......

And we go from there, hopefully with mutual respect for the constraints each of us has and to an outcome we can all feel satisfied with.

So when the shoe is on the other foot and I am a customer or client that receives service I think is unacceptable I am perhaps more likely than others to voice my feelings.  I always do so with the perspective of helping the other party know that in my (ever humble) opinion they could be doing better in the customer service department.....or whatever it is......

I recently had a very "unhappy" moment with a person on the front line of customer service for a large bureaucracy.  I am a pretty cool customer and have been through many tough moments with people and managed to keep my head but this interaction really rattled me.  It was incredibly rude, completely out of character for the organisation and smacked of power-tripping for the sake of making a point.

I walked away from the encounter without the thing I had come for, although I had done everything that was asked for, and shaking from both shock and anger.

I managed to get through the situation by calling on other people I knew in the organisation and in the end it was all ok.

And once it was, and I was happy and calm, I made a complaint.

I have been immensely impressed by the response..... timely, appropriate, thorough and respectful.  I learned more about the organisation and the processes and I felt heard.  I demanded apology, no letter, just a commitment, by those who can, to do better.

The whole process reminded me again to see complaints as potentially mutually beneficial.....and when one landed on my desk this week I dealt with it accordingly.

On the flip side I think it is so important to speak out about good service or great encounters we have....and I love doing that and I love hearing that!

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