Empathy. It’s more than just a potential core value. It’s what every organization or company that is creating or producing something for a customer should have as their focus. Empathy allows you to step into someone else’s shoes. The magic in seeing something through someone else’s eyes means you get to offer a product or experience that falls more closely in line with what the customer really wants. Isn’t that the point after all?
As a water provider or municipality, have you ever asked what happens when someone calls your city and asks about lead in the water? Are they getting accurate information? Is the information consistent? Lead is an extremely sensitive and controversial topic. Here are some things to consider to ensure your city is handling community concerns regarding lead appropriately.
No Rabbit Holes or Wild Goose Chases
Many cities only post information about lead awareness and lead testing done in the public infrastructure annually in the water quality report. Is there local contact information listed should people have questions? Does the person on the other end of that contact information know they are the point person for lead questions? Make information about potential lead exposure readily available on your website. Ensure the contact information is relevant and accurate. Don’t upset customers right out of the gate by sending them down a wild goose chase just to get in touch with the right person.
Keep it Simple
If your consumer lead testing program is complicated your actions may be speaking louder than your words. You may believe your communicating that public health is a priority to your city and department. If the process for customers to test the lead content of their plumbing is complicated or cumbersome, it won’t feel like that’s your priority to your customers. There are consumer lead testing options for cities of all sizes and all budgets. We can help you find the best match for your situation. Most importantly, you’ll offer your customers a simple solution to gaining peace of mind.
Get Your Story Straight
If the most public number for your water department is the water treatment plant, make sure the operators are trained and prepared to answer questions. Licensed operators will know the facts, but they’ll need to be trained on the best way to communicate that to community members. Using too much jargon and technical lingo may come off as condescending to your customers. The information may be true, but when it comes to communication it’s all about the audience. Make sure the answers provided meet your customers where they’re at. Train your staff so they are prepared and feel comfortable when confronted with tough questions.
These may seem painfully straightforward. No rocket science here, but it’s amazing how often the simple things are often the most overlooked. Put these three quality control checks in place to give you peace of mind when your staff is addressing lead concerns. Communication is always more effective when it’s done proactively versus in a reactive manner. Keep these things in mind as you begin to think about your 2019 water quality report.