There have been preparations underway for weeks for the road construction project on my street. We have all come to tune them out — until the ROAD CLOSED signs appeared on the scene. While none of them have yet to be placed into position, it has caused quite a buzz amongst the neighbors. Many calls have been placed to City Hall and to Councilmen wanting to know the details of the impending detour.
The problem is that it is a county project, and no one at the city is apprised of the details.
But to many residents in this small community, “the city” isn’t some nebulous or faceless entity; “the city” means talking to Doug or Sarah or Curt or Craig. To their neighbors, “the city” equates to a person, whereas “the county” is a nameless bureaucracy that cannot help them.
If you truly want to provide customer service, start by putting a name with the one providing the service. Don’t hide behind “the administration”, “the accounting department”, “the C-suite”, “the 4th floor” or other generic categories that allow for anonymity or escape. Provide a name and a contact person as early in the process as you are able to create the connection and accountability to make it real.
Departments don’t provide service; people do.