As I returned some DVDs to the library, I had to park, get out of the car and walk several feet to get to the building to return them in a drop slot. There is no drive-up receptacle for returning items, and when I asked about it, I was told that the employees did not want one as they would have to go outside in inclement weather to retrieve the items. 

It is inconvenient for me to walk to the building; it is actually difficult for a handicapped person to make that journey or more of a hassle for a parent who doesn’t want to leave their child in an unattended vehicle even for a few moments. 

This is a case where non-profits could take a lesson from businesses and try to make things more convenient for the consumer instead of the employee. There are other examples where the desires of the organization have trumped the service mentality:

> Many colleges have the closest parking reserved parking for faculty and staff, making the student (aka customer) walk the furthest to the buildings. Imagine if the employees at a store took all the prime spaces instead of parking further away. 

> Many government or service offices are closed outside of M-F 8-5 hours. Think if businesses operated that way. I am sure those in banking or retail wish that they weren’t open on Saturdays, but for the customer’s convenience they are. 

I believe strongly that happy employees are more likely to create happy customers, but like everything, you must strive to strike a balance. Shifting too much in one direction will leave you with happy staff members with no one to serve!

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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