Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sometimes it isn't what you say, but how you say it

I spoke to one of the feeders today who called to say that the town councils, AVA and the NEA were rude to her. She is a well meaning woman who wants to help but when I asked her what happened, she mentioned that when they called with a complaint (admittedly a rather ridiculous one - that a cat defecated on top of the car), she asked them, if someone claimed a cat killed a person would they believe them too and started arguing with them. She made a good point, but I think it's the way she did it - unfortunately the town council got upset with her. Then she went to the MP and complained and went back and told the town council she had complained about them. Relations have thus deteriorated.

The woman is entirely right in saying that the town council should investigate and that the complaints may be ludicrous sometimes. However, if the caregiver is argumentative and doesn't seem like they want to solve the problem, some officers may be put off dealing with them again because they seem unreasonable. For example, if you argue with the officer, they'll wonder if you can really do a mediation with a complainant, who may also be upset.

So hard as it can be, and it CAN be hard, try to keep your calm. If the person is very rude, then just take down their details and lodge a complaint. Of course it goes without saying that courtesy goes both ways - no one is going to be very sympathetic if you were the one who was rude first.


Blogger The Imp said...

everyone means well. but it's really a tough act to do things the 'right' way to elicit the desired response.

26/8/05 12:11 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes it really is.

26/8/05 12:15 AM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I agree absolutely with Dawn but it takes alot of insight into correct mediation technique. It is a skill that has to be learnt and polished. I learnt from Dawn in being cool and level headed. Once we lose our cool, we also lost the "battle".

26/8/05 7:35 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hahaha- of course I lose my temper Vegancat! :) Possibly should learn to meditate from you so I can mediate :)

26/8/05 7:58 AM  
Anonymous mrs budak said...

I think because the welfare of cats is a subject so close to our hearts, and because there's been a history of conflict with the TCs, the natural tendency is for us to become defensive whenever we receive a call from them. It's almost like an instinctive reaction. That happens to me whenever I receive a call from certain parties.

I think because it is a telephone call (as opposed to an email, or a letter), you are put on the spot and you don't have time to consider your options. I guess the best thing the lady could have done was to try to calm down, and turn to "factual" matters like which car, which cat, where and so on.

And even if the first call went badly, I think the situation could have been salvaged. Call the TC again and ask for the facts, and then ask for time to investigate.

Dawn, are you stepping to help cool things down? A third party is probably needed at this stage.

p/s Can the spam comments be removed?

26/8/05 9:06 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Mrs Budak, Yes just did that and added a verification column so only real comments are left.

Yes - I've told her to call me the next time the town council calls her and I will talk to them about the complaints.

26/8/05 9:12 AM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I prefer to mediate through emailing so that I can take deep breath when it comes to any "unreasonable" part.
But if we can apply some empathy to the town council officers (imagine handling endless calls from endless complaints), we can "de-monster" our perception of TC officers. I guess it is a tough job that I don't envy and they are really not trained to handle animal-related issues. Ideally all animal-related issues should be directed to experts.

26/8/05 11:45 AM  
Blogger vegancat said...

Cool. How did you add the verification too to block out the spam?

26/8/05 11:46 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Exactly Vegancats - some complainants (and to be fair, some caregivers) can be quite demanding and horrible. They do have a stressful job, which is why we're here to try and help them. I often tell them we're trying to make life easier, not more difficult, for them.

Blogger has a new feature - you just need to click on it under settings.

26/8/05 12:19 PM  

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