Quote of the day/week/however long

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
~William James

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stumbled Upon

Have any readers noticed how Madam sometimes throws in FAM references to bolster her complaints and admonitions?  Are you tired of it yet?

Well, too bad.  Here she comes again.  Her new favorite FAM item, encountered purely by chance:


(TL;PER-292; 9-15-95)

The treatment of our customers is an important aspect of how we are perceived as an agency. Because people will generally treat each other the way they are treated, good customer service must begin with the way we interact with each other. It is the policy of the Department that our employees must treat each other, as well as our external customers, with proper respect and courtesy at all times.

Did you see that?  Did you see how this little paragraph assumes that we treat our customers well, and so uses that as a basis to remind us to treat one another well, also?  How quaint is that?  And yet it was written in 1995, not in the 19th century...and not in the 21st, in which it sometimes seems that everything is always about somebody who can't be convinced that he is responsible for the consequences of his own selfish, myopic, arrogant behavior.

Madam hates to be a nag (well, not really) but she is happy to take this opportunity to repeat, yet again, what we were all told in A100, in ConGen, and in at least a hundred different places on the CA intranet:  treating customers well is mandatory, period.  The Department even promises - yes, promises, read it yourself - decent treatment to applicants in public, in print.

A consular officer might be the first American that a visa applicant meets.  The experience of making and attending an interview appointment can be momentous; people dress up for that.  They fret and worry.  And then - without consciously meaning to - they sometimes can't help but judge the entire US by their treatment at the US embassy, just as we might do if the situation were reversed.  When their anxiety is met with efficiency, patience, understanding and courtesy it's not only the perception of the agency that benefits, but it's the US as a whole.

After all, consular work is not about consular officers; it's about consular customers.  Yes, all of it.

This little saying is too cute, too trite, too old, and too still true:

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