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Here’s The Scoop… Standard Operating Policies Be Damned……..VFD Hung Up The Phone!

LAUDERDALE- BY- THE- SEA

VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

VFD-SOP…101…CUSTOMER SERVICE

STANDARD OPERATING POLICIES AND GUIDELINES

Page 5

‘Our customer is defined as any person or group who receives a service provided by us.’

‘It is our objective to meet the customer’s needs as it pertains to our goal to provide the best fire and rescue service we can, which means we will seek to identify the “true need”. We will create an atmosphere where the customer is made to feel welcome, valued, listened to, where we put forth a genuine effort to meet their needs.’

‘Therefore, the following standards are hereby adopted:

. We will present ourselves professionally and courteously, through actions and appearance, and acknowledge every customer with undivided attention, including a verbal greeting and attentive body language.

.We will use active listening skills for the purpose of finding out what is the customer’s need.

. We will exhibit a positive attitude when speaking to people on behalf of our department.

. We will keep a customer informed of the action to be taken, approximately how long it will take, and follow through with customer inquiries. If we cannot fulfill our commitment in the agreed upon time frame, we will let the person know as soon as possible.

. We will learn to use the telephone properly, so we may provide good service to every customer.

. We will accept the responsibility for the performance of our department and “never pass the buck”, place blame, or give excuse.

. We will, when appropriate, apologize on behalf of our department and pledge to do a better job next time.

. We will manage our language, emotions and response to others, who may be emotional or distressed, and not escalate the interaction.

. We will always remember that the customer is our primary purpose for existence and therefore we will give them our undivided attention and not act as if they are a disruption or an imposition.

.We will talk to our customers in a manner they can understand without using jargon, technical language or acronyms.

. We will remember that our primary objective is people, not things, and act and communicate accordingly.

. We will return messages by the end of the day or shift, unless there is some emergency reason why we are unable to do so.’

Here’s The rundown….

This writer called the VFD yesterday morning and found just a ringing phone..no answer…waiting a few minutes…I proceeded to call again…this time it finally went to a voice mail…with Rev. Jim Pollock’s recorded message …saying…no one is in the office …if it’s an emergency to call 911…and to leave a message for whomever the caller is trying to reach…I did not leave a message….In the afternoon I tried again…still no answer…so I called the Chief on his cell…again no answer just a recorded response….and no voice mail to leave a message on…I then sent in an e-mail with my request…which was the purpose of the phone calls.

Today hearing no response…thinking Cheryl the Secretary might be in…I called in the morning…a FF named Daniel answered the phone…very politely…I explained the reason for my call and asked him to have Cheryl return the call…for she was the person that I had dealt with in prior months for requests and she was the person that informed me last month when I could get the Dec. minutes….I wanted to pick them up on Friday……I received no call back…and decided to call Cheryl to reconfirm I could indeed get my requests on Friday….no answer….after lunch …around 1 pm…I called once more…and this time Cheryl answered…

Cheryl was nasty…angry and told me they were busy…they had my e-mail…and they did not need me calling them all day!…

I responded that I had not called them all day…proceeded to explain what is written above…and Cheryl hung up the phone!

I called back…stunned by the response…no answer!…

Look, I do not care if at the VFD …I am public enemy #1…they are a contracted vendor in this town…and they are to operate as such…under their own Standards Operating Policies..

Cheryl is the VFD Secretary…who was suddenly listed as a Regular VFD member although not listed as a member on the roster…(she is receiving full Insurance)…she  too is to abide by the same code of conduct…in the VFD-SOPs…

I  am now calling for an apology from Cheryl (spelled out in the SOPs)… and for the town to require the VFD to follow their own SOPs…their conduct should not be condoned…

Is there anyone who thinks the BSO would ever act in such a manner…if they did anything like this when they were our Fire Department in the past …..that the current bunch running the VFD would not have heads rolling…ASAP?….

The VFD office should be telephone accessible daily during regular business hours… non answered phones are unacceptable for public safety service….

They  must follow their  SOPs…. requiring a reply by end of day or shift…and given their previous disregard for response ..this is an ongoing situation……

The E-mail…

THE 1ST PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST OF 2009…CLARIFIED…

(This e-mail was “clarified” for the benefit of Vice Mayor McIntee to understand that a public records request is to be counted for the request as a whole……not the items or the pages copied!)….

1 public records request
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 3:08 PM
From:
“Barbara Cole” <[email protected]>

To:
[email protected]
Cc:
[email protected]

Chief Perkins,
I am making 1 public records request containing 3 items…
1. Dec. Meeting Minutes
2. The latest Roster
3. The VFD operating budget for the last 3 months…Oct.-Dec.2008…
I await your response of receipt of this e-mail with time for pick-up.
I will pay copying costs incurred.
Thank You, Barbara Cole,LBTS resident
This request is being sent to the Town Manager, with no action required by the town.

more to come….

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