I recently contacted my local animal shelter to make a donation. This experience reminded me as to why I made the policies for communication with my own staff.
I wanted every communication (email, social media, telephone calls) returned within 3 hours; 24 hours if they were slammed. I made sure that I kept to the same rules. The only exception was weekends, holidays and vacations. If they were going to be out for longer that 24 hours, their email or phone message should reflect that.
I also insisted that the doors of the shelter open 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled time. Customer service is one of the most important things that we have to offer; unfortunately too many staff see that customer service equates to work and they want to avoid both.
Many of us are government workers. That doesn’t mean that we have to act in the way that citizens think of us. We should always go the extra mile. I tell my staff to treat each person as if you are dealing with the Mayor.
The first shelter I contacted for the donation never contacted me. The second shelter responded as soon as staff came to work. Guess where all of my future donations will go?