June 5, 2009
On Tuesday, when I sat down at my desk in preparation for our first "Quality on the Line," I wasn't sure what to expect. I feel lucky to work at a state agency that has customers who are willing to provide feedback and suggestions, but I was unsure about the new online format and if it would work. My fears quickly subsided when I saw e-mail after e-mail popping into my mailbox. To be honest, it was hard to keep up.
Mid-way through the virtual office hours, I received an e-mail from a man from Hallandale Beach. He started his e-mail with, "Thank you for your 'bravery', if not foolhardiness, for providing this forum." His comment certainly made me laugh and provided a needed lighthearted moment amidst the other comments and concerns. I appreciated his insight and candidness about the difficulty in opening yourself up for criticism.
Having done "On the Road to Better Business" last year, I was prepared for the comments that are hard to hear. I hate to hear that we have let down a licensee, failed in some way to protect a consumer or made it too difficult or too hard to understand how to get licensed. All of these things are tough to hear, especially directly from the person we have failed to treat as a valued customer. At the end of the day, it is all worth it. The comments help me and the department to grow and improve.
More than 100 customers from the South Florida area wrote to me during "Quality on the Line," and I responded to each one. One man from Ft. Lauderdale had concerns about continuing education courses, which are required for license renewal. We are now looking at how we provide information on our Web site to see if we can make improvements.
I don't see our customer-oriented initiatives as brave or even foolhardy. I see them as a responsibility and a commitment to the people we are charged to serve. I am looking forward to our next "Quality on the Line" virtual office hours in West Florida on Wednesday, June 17, from 12 to 3 p.m. You can track our progress and find out more about our customer contacts by visiting "Customers on the Line." I am hoping for another outstanding turnout.
Charles W. Drago
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