Asking the right questions
I received an email from a TC officer yesterday night about some complaints. One of these complaints had been forwarded previously. A caregiver went down and could not find the cat which is purportedly lurking on the third floor and walking into the complainant's home daily.
Now I don't doubt that the cat may well be there and have been walking around, but as I pointed out to the officer, we sent them a checklist of questions to put to the complainants so that we would have a better idea of what the problem was.
As we had explained to this particular TC (and they had agreed to get all their officers to use the checklist), they don't need to fill out every single question as per the list as long as they understand the gist of what they need to ask. For example, with this cat on the third floor - what time is the cat seen, what colour is the cat, does the complainant know of anyone who may have a free-roaming pet cat or who is feeding the cat upstairs? The complainant may know the answer to some or all of these questions and it would be very helpful in solving the problem.
Referring the same problem with no further information is not helpful. How many times does the officer want the caregiver to go down? If she goes down three times and does not find the cat, what then? It may be that the cat only comes out at a certain time (for example when the owner lets the cat out). Would it be so difficult to ask for this information?
It does strike me as odd sometimes about the fact that so little information is solicited by some officers. In one case I recall, the complaint was that there were 'cats'.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in order to try and solve the problem at the root, we need to try and find out as much relevant information as possible. I know not every officer may have any knowledge of cats and that's perfectly understandable. That's why we have the complaint checklist to provide them with the sort of questions they need to ask. To be honest, some officers have not needed to use it because they have been able to ask for the right sort of information - and I would guess these officers would be more efficient in handling any type of complaint, cat related or not.