Compassion? Who Cares?

img_2385Today I had to contact several call centres on behalf of an elderly relative. I was trying to make sense of a couple of letters which affect how much income comes in and what bills gets paid. Who cares about how easy or difficult we make it for people to sort out their finances?

Interestingly the organisation that had suspended everything had acted on incorrect information. I explained that a mistake had been made. However I was bounced off to another organisation who apparently made the mistake. The second organisation said they hadn’t and all the first organisation had to do was look at the shared database. I went back to the first organisation. Nothing they could do for five working days I was told. They would get the back office to make a request for up to date information. It seemed quite clear that no one cares about the stress this has placed on someone having to manage a budget.

Then I contacted a third organisation to make sure that the best option for paying bills was in place. What a change! Both people I spoke to quickly updated records, gave me information and adjusted one thing that could make a big difference. They advised me of other options that were available and when it might be best to use them. Speaking with compassion and consideration these two operatives put in place a couple of other things as a back up plan. I came off the phone feeling like my faith in others had been restored.

I know it’s sometimes hard to work in a pressurised environment. Who cares for the operators answering call after call?

When things go wrong it’s all too easy to try to sidestep the issue. I know that I get defensive if I feel like I’m being blamed. That’s a natural reaction to the way we treat mistakes. Because blame certainly isn’t coming from a place of compassion. So how do we change a blame culture into one that accepts mistakes happen. I guess all I wanted from the first organisation was an apology and the issue being corrected. What I got instead was someone trying to shuffle the blame in another direction. And certainly no prompt action to resolve the issue.

Yet I found the third organisation cares enough for it’s staff that they feel able to go that extra mile for callers. There had been a mistake too. But I found that they corrected it with a clear and sincere apology. They showed compassion and I felt I could respond in kind. So how do I create the environment around me where compassion and caring are clear in what I do? That’s a big question. Because I also have to assess how I can be compassionate and caring to myself. There is a balance required. One I know from my life experience it can be hard to find.

What is encouraging, and why I will keep trying to find the balance, is that today showed me it is possible. A large organisation can do it. And if they can, so can I. My starting point is to care for me so I can also offer that care to others.

Day 386 of my blogging challenge.

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