When ‘Best Practice’ Isn’t

Best practice. Industry standard. The latest workplace buzzwords share similarities with every other slogan that preceded them. Like Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys,” they don’t mean a thing.

After all, what good is best practice if it doesn’t help people do or understand things in an easier and more efficient manner than they were able to before? What good is industry standard if it goes against basic ‘common sense’ and/or people’s specific requests and concerns?

Consider this analogy: You own a store that sells — among other things — ice cream sandwiches. You store them in a freezer at the rear, left of the building (on the top shelf), because “everybody knows that’s where ice cream sandwiches are located.”

But if you don’t put up any signs indicating that ‘fact,’ and never tell anyone where the treats are — even when it’s clear those kind folks are specifically looking for ice cream sandwiches —you are (literally!) allowing potential sales to ‘walk out the door.’

You know where to get 'em.
You know where to get ’em.

And when those hungry shoppers get frustrated at the confectionary confusion you’ve created, it’s also likely they’ll stop dropping by your shop for the other things they need.

“If I couldn’t find something as simple as ice cream sandwiches, how on earth would I find quinoa?!”

Many of us make blunders like this every day and (hopefully) don’t even realize it. We must train ourselves to not only listen intently to what customers are saying and explaining, but also put ourselves “in their shoes.”

We have all played the customer role at some point. Think about the times when you’ve become frustrated (or worse) during an interaction with an agent. Learn from the poor treatment you received and make sure you’re not turning around and doing the same thing to others!

Above all, stop hiding behind buzzwords solely to prevent having to say ‘no,’ or to actually entertain someone’s concerns. Interaction (no matter how heated it may become) can only bring about insight, understanding, and — ultimately — resolution.

by Emily Souwto | Feature & Human Interest Editor | Residential Life Magazine 

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