Thursday 31 May 2007

Who will it inconvenience?

Pointless notice
This notice is currently up next to the piece of Public Art that is now in front of Sheffield Station. I am really struggling to work out whose day is being made difficult by this pointless fountain being off. Are there people who faced with a lack of water and electricity being wasted by the moment really can't get through the day and need an apology from the "city centre management team" this much? Are Sheffield Council at risk from floods of lawsuits from these people and feel that a nice notice might just soothe the affected or give a defence that they made reasonable efforts to protect the sensitive?
It get me thinking, is it all part of a new culture, that is probably stemming from the compensation culture of apologising for anything and everything?
Now in this particular case it was just a fatuous notice there because people feel it is the done thing, but it is happening more and more because people feel aggrieved more often. Is it just perception? Or are there actually more mistakes? Do we need to say stop why not think a little first, and do it right first time? In some recent cases of public apologies this is the case: LJ for their suspension of accounts that were entirely to do with the opposite of what the kneejurkers accused them of, Channel four for the small minded bigotry of people on one of the most pathetic television shows yet devised, but mostly it isn't what is needed.
If organisations spent a bit more of their customer service budget on meeting rather than managing expectations, on greeting customers promptly and politely rather than saying sorry we took so long, on training their employees on how to talk to people then a lot less "sorry" would be needed.
Not that it is totally a bad word, I would have far preferred "I'm sorry you can't our toaster is broken" to the strait and very confusing "no" I got when asking for my sandwich toasted the other day.

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