By Paul Sandford
Those of us of a certain age will remember the hit TV comedy series “Porridge” featuring Ronnie Barker as the long-term prisoner, Fletcher, and Fulton Mackay as the authoritarian chief warden, Mr Mackay.
In one scene, Mr Mackay is giving an introduction to a new prisoner and utters the immortal words:
“there are only two rules in this prison.
- Don’t write on the walls
- Obey all the rules”
This was a good instance of comedy reflecting real life because in practice, that is how things are often run. Even in an age of openness and transparency that willingly engages with concepts such as freedom of information, respect for human rights and an acknowledgement of the needs and dignities of the individual, well-intentioned organisations that would resent any suggestion that they bear any resemblance to the likes of Mr Mackay seem to run themselves in a rather ad hoc imprecise manner. However inadvertently, they rather blandly assume that their clients or customers will know and fully understand their terms of business and ways of working even if they have not been given a proper explanation. Particularly in instances where it turns out that internal members of staff do not understand “the rules” either inevitably confusion and difficulties arise. This leads to disharmony and disputes that had proper methods of working been implemented and explained, would in all probability have been avoided.
In some particular instances I have seen the same errors and failures been repeated time and time again. One member of staff authoritatively says “X” and is then contradicted by another who advises that his or her colleague was incorrect and that “Y” “is the right answer”. Subsequently, a third member of staff says that X was correct but only up to a point and that the confused and possibly quite annoyed customer should also take into account “A, B and M.”
When the customer asks employee number three who has “checked with his line manager” and has spoken very authoritatively is asked to explain why his colleagues have got it so badly wrong the response is “I can’t answer that but I’m helping you now”. Unsurprisingly, the customer does not find this response to be very reassuring.
In all probability all three of these members of staff will have proferred profuse, heartfelt apologies and at least two of them will have given assurances that they will “feedback” the concerns expressed. When the customer points out that he or she experienced exactly the same thing a few months ago employee three simply stops speaking and there is an awkward silence. It is blatantly obvious that he or she knows that the service provided has been deficient and, in some instances, a grudging, circumspect acknowledgement may be given. However, nothing ever changes….
In many instances, such terrible practices never change because for whatever reason they are tolerated by employees, management, directors and shareholders alike. However, in many respects, the personnel responsible for terrible service and poor customer relations are well-intentioned people who may be a bit reluctant to change their ways and need a helping hand. They might be fearing for their jobs, reluctant to admit any failings and have visions of an external “expert” consultant wielding a clipboard, red pen and a very large axe.
The CT service offered by ASM Plus is the very antithesis of the red pen and large axe. It gets results, saves time and money and considerably improves efficiency and productivity. In bringing about meaningful change, rather than “talk down” to staff members such as the three employees mentioned above and their managers, CT engages. The responsive, problem-solving analysis that we offer means that matters are looked at in the round and those concerned are given an incentive to ensure that any necessary changes are effected and that once in place they stay in place.
CT as offered by ASM Plus recognises that in many instances the improvements that need to be made will be relatively simple. It also ensures that any additional investment that may be required is carefully considered and used to best effect. Any related training required will be very carefully focused and every accommodation will be made so as to ensure that the process of implementing any changes does not disrupt things too much and that the needs of the affected personnel are properly considered.
ASM Plus’s highly acclaimed and competitively priced critical thinking expert, Roy van den Brink Budgen, and business consultant, Russell Shackleton, have excellent track records in this field. They charge very competitively and they do get results.
Do you want to take things forward?
If so, please feel free to telephone Paul Sandford on 00 351 968 898 080 for a free, without obligation discussion. We are here to help and could successfully transform your business or organisation in a short space of time. Paul can also be reached on WhatsApp, Wickr and Telegram. Alternatively send an email to: email@example.com
Principal Director of ASM PLUS, civil/commercial, workplace, employment, family and educational mediator and trainer with a judicial/legal background. He has knowledge and expertise in dispute resolution in a wide range of areas and disciplines and mediates online.