I’ve noticed a few things over the last week or so that have formulated into a pattern for me. The thread that draws them all together is about how important it is to get the basics right.
For two consecutive Saturdays I have delivered some training to a small group of people waiting to become adoptive parents. As I know this is a stressful time-anticipation and preparing your home for the imminent arrival of small people. The main cause of stress amongst the group? Poor administration and lack of courtesy shown by the Local Authorities when things go wrong. A couple of examples, failed CRB checks due to the misspelling of a name (twice), a social worker not asking the potential adopter the right questions for the report to the adoption panel. Both incidents resulted in significant delays for those concerned in being approved as adopters. There were no meaningful apologies nor any sign of strategies in place to ensure that lessons are learnt from mistakes. This isn’t about resources this is about poor customer care.
Secondly was the emotive interview with Ann Clwyd on BBC about her role heading up a review of the way that NHS handles complaints. Ann Clwyd has first hand experience of poor care when her husband died in hospital. She has been inundated with emails outlining awful incidents including an elderly woman who wasn’t helped to be fed despite having two broken wrists in plaster.
The third example is a work one. Judith is doing work in Central Bedfordshire around workability. She is working with employers and agencies to help people seeking work. It’s about getting the basics right for potential employers. And we are talking basics- looking clean and tidy, turning up on time for an interview (you won’t be interviewed if you’re late), being polite and being able to hold a conversation for 5 minutes about yourself and your interests.
So how does this relate to what we do? Well for a start, we like to think that we get the basics right. We are courteous, engaging and deliver what we promise- most times a little bit more. This is why the majority of our work comes via personal recommendations. This is not a fluke, it’s because we work hard at making sure that our business is underpinned by sound principles, learning when things go wrong (of course they do sometimes!) and remembering the importance of our clients at all times. You don’t notice when the fundamentals are right but you definitely notice them when they go wrong…