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  • Ray Andrew posted an update in the group Group logo of Customer Experience CultureCustomer Experience Culture 5 years, 8 months ago

    So this post will be a little abstract, but just recently happened to me so I feel like it is a topic that might generate some discussion within the community. Typically, we will engage in discussion about privately held businesses, namely banks, but we tend to forget that customer experiences are prominent throughout our daily lives. Earlier this week I was in a very minor car accident where I was struck by a vehicle moving very slowly (~5 miles per hour) while I was walking through a parking lot. I am not one to raise alarm, especially since the bag I was carrying served to cushion my fall, but nearby police services noticed the incident and immediately descended on the scene. This was a very simple situation where the only real concern was that they would need to ticket the driver for failing to yield to a pedestrian, but it spiraled out of control since it occurred on university grounds. The officers, who were quick to make sure I was safe and relatively unharmed, were warm and very concerned, but once the situation was assessed they went into a figurative autopilot. Protocol required that they prevent me from leaving the scene until I was cleared by a medic and essentially debriefed about the incident. Training had made them skilled at dealing with any situation, and, despite my protests and persisting that I was feeling fine, their first course of action was to keep me on the ground until medical services arrived to assess my condition. Following this I was asked to give an account of the incident and decided whether to file a police report, which I opted out of for the sake of getting the entire ordeal settled as soon as possible. With all being said and done, a minor injury that should have merely resulted in a traffic citation ballooned into a three hour debacle where I was forced to sit through questions and examinations effectively against my will and judgment. Their intentions were noble and I am thankful for their quick response, but in a situation such as that common sense should trump protocol. The entire situation was fine until they essentially forced me to stay and subject myself to their battery of tests and questions for the sake of following university policies, at which point my mood had swung from that of a grateful student to an angry, seemingly detained, victim.

    • Hey, you can’t blame a cop for being a cop, that’s just the way it is. But man, that sounds like a crazy scene, just strolling through a parking lot to being hit by a car to having a cop standing over you. The waiting and all of the exams and everything they put you through is just the way it is, not like you can fight the law, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Just gotta suck it up and deal with it.

      • That really is a flaw in how people are treated. As public servants, they should be more partial to the opinions of those they serve and the expectations of society as a whole. Had this been a more severe case then yes, I would understand the entire ordeal with a much more positive note, but their application of the law was too constricting. At this point, protocol overrules logic when it involves people and possible lawsuits.

        • Well when money is on the line you know you have to cover yourself and make sure you aren’t the one being eyed, am I right? No one wants to be blamed for cutting corners when someone ends up being sued, so I guess they’re making sure they keep their jobs. That’s America now, we’re basically stuck with that as part of society.

    • This response may be long-winded, so I apologize in advance for my lack of brevity. However, I believe that what I have to say is wholly necessary to convey the rationale behind the actions of the officers, as well as how the situation may have altered the otherwise normal conditions of the affair. Let me begin by saying that I am glad that you received the proper medical treatment and law enforcement was there to address the issue; it is good that you were relatively unharmed. With that out of the way, let me begin my analysis.
      I would say that the actions of the police officers were justified both by training and by typical responses in similar situations. Precedence is a factor for situations like these, and I am sure they were acting in accordance to what was done or should have been done in previous instances of this form of accident occurring. I would not doubt that the protocol they follow is in place to ensure the highest levels of safety and security for all those involved, and while it may have been against your wishes, it was probably the correct call in the heat of the moment.
      Now let me address a few of the situational factors in this ordeal, namely the setting and the severity of the accident. From a firsthand perspective, I am sure that you were able to effectively judge how fast the car was going, how much harm it had inflicted, and your levels of pain, stress, and comfort with the situation. Others, however, would not have had this insight, and possibly not even had seen the accident as it occurred, leaving them to consider the worst in the scenario. This results in what you experienced – officers requesting that you wait for medical evaluation and going through multiple channels to ensure that you were attended to properly. This meant disregarding your opinions on the matter because in a stressful situation such as an accident there is the possibility that you are not reasoning properly nor are you in any state to fully assess your injuries; that is best left to a medical professional. Additionally, the even occurred on university grounds. If this is a public institution, there are possible risks for liability to the city and state, so all steps must be taken to clear the institution from fault or harm.
      Pertaining to customer experience, I do agree that public services seemingly disregard how to properly treat a customer, but there are expectations that trump the idea of customer experience. Safety, ethics, and legal responsibility are factors that cannot be underestimated, nor can they be ignored, so certain steps must be taken whether or not it will improve the customer experience. In the midst of this, however, human interaction needs to shine through because protocol can be made much more bearable if there is an emotional connection between those looking for service and those being served, even within the public realm. Government and public employees are seen as relatively cold and emotionally distant, and this only takes away from the effectiveness of their actions. Implementing more human emotion would make these professionals much more approachable, resulting in more productive, more satisfying encounters.

      • The irony in your argument is that the officers did see what had occurred and had even remarked that they were bound by law to follow the procedures. I cannot say that I am upset with them – I am quite happy that they knew what to do to the letter – but I am upset with how restricting these laws can be. We are not allowed to make rational judgments, and this is inherently against our very nature as humans. What I believe to be key to a positive customer experience is the autonomy for individuals to make decisions that would benefit the customer. People are able to reason what is appropriate in most situations, and if they had properly assessed that I was of sound body and mind when I told them I was effectively unharmed then I would have been out of the situation much faster. People have the responsibility to make good judgment calls when necessary, and there needs to be some sort of way for them to be able to do so when the time comes.

    • Well sounds like you’ve had quite the experience! I’m so glad you’re not hurt! 😀 Imagine what we would do without you to give us your insight and opinion – we’d be so lost without you 🙁 Not everyone can say that they walked away after being hit by a car, but you’re one of them. I don’t wanna blame the police for being overly safe…but they were overly safe. It doesn’t take hours to figure out that you were OK after it all happened. They should know better! 🙁 Maybe they could have skipped some of the boring stuff once they saw you were fine? Who knows. All I know is that this happens way too much, and it’s because people are too afraid of getting sued later on. It’s kind of stupid, but just something we have to deal with I guess. That’s why police can’t do much but follow the rules.

      • With how society is structured, it is essentially mandatory to have a set of guidelines that you must abide by in order to avoid the possibility of lawsuits and litigation. However, there must be a statute that allows a victim to forego medical examination as long as they are willing to also forfeit the right to legal action. While it is important to have some sort of process in place to deal with these situations, there should also be clauses that allow for the processes to be skipped in the interest of time or personal need. Unless there is one in place that I have not heard of, I believe that it would be important to address; it would allow the public services the ability to be more accommodating and considerate of people’s wishes. That would make situations much more comforting and, at least in my opinion, more customer centric.

    • What kind of tests did they put you under that would take so long? When I was in an accident I was out of there in maybe an hour and a half. Plus, wouldn’t most cops listen to you if you were saying that you were good to go? It doesn’t make sense.

      • In addition to an assessment of the damage and situation, I was subjected to a medical examination by first responders, as well as a secondary examination at the university clinic. While this should not have taken a long time, I already had previous injuries from playing sports so I had to explain and differentiate which pain was caused by previous injury and what was caused by the current accident. This was all for the purpose of filing a correct incident report with campus police services, who took down the details of the situation but did not file the report after my protesting. Regardless, I had to sit through an explanation of the situation as well as a short explanation of my rights against the driver of the car. Items in my bad had to be examined to see if I had suffered any property damage as well because it could be claimed and replaced by the driver. All in all, the time was spent primarily assessing my condition and reporting the facts to the officers because the details had to be laid bare and scrutinized individually despite the fact that I was unconcerned and unharmed.

    • Now that everyone’s gotten their chance to spout off what they think is “right”, let me go ahead and let you know what really is the right way to do things. You can’t expect public services to work like a regular business does. Look at how we’re in a government shutdown right now! There are steps in place that they have to follow, and if they aren’t done properly then nothing gets done. Nothing. They need to stop and wait for approval or changes to be made. That’s why they had to go through all of those long procedures. If they don’t then they aren’t following protocol, or they aren’t really making sure you’re OK, or they’re leaving themselves open to attack if problems come up later that they didn’t address now. You have to realize this is pretty much common sense to do, especially since we all know how crazy some people can be about suing others. You need to learn to deal with it because nothing will change it, especially when we know that we need to make sure we don’t get sued.

      • I do understand that public services operate in a different fashion than a typical business, but they do still have the goal of serving customers. You are right – protocol is difficult to avoid and does result in extra steps that are seemingly insignificant. However, it is not impossible to skirt these rules. While it may seem unlawful, I believe it is more ethically sound to consider the victim’s opinion and make a proper judgment call. Waivers can be signed to prevent possible lawsuit, and this saves time and money for all parties involved. People would be able to be evaluated and cleared, meaning that public responders would not be tied up with individuals for long periods of time; less staff would be required to do the same job, and victims would be free to continue about their day rather than wasting away under a battery of tests.

        • If you really think playing the ethics card makes sense, it does not because these rules are essentially laws. Ethics may make people think differently in situations, but the law is the law. Waivers may work, but you know as well as I do that they still require the rules to be changed before they can be used. That’s what it boils down to – the law. So unless they decide to water down the rules that are out there right now you just need to wait for them to go through the motions so you can be on your way.