Who in their right mind would be thankful for complainers? I am thankful for those individuals who take the time to calmly inform me that a mistake has been made, or an event occurred that should not have, or a policy needs to be reviewed.
I don't mind having a reasonable conversation about a problem. Sometimes it is difficult to not to take things personally, but when problems come up it is always better to look at the problem and find solutions. Sometimes the solution does not always make people happy. But, hey, I'm willing to listen. And hopefully the complainer will listen too. As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story.
So how to handle a complainer from a situation that occurred in 2008? Yes, five years ago. I was in my yard with the dogs. My neighbor is telling two other men that when his mother died he asked that donations be made to the SPCA and he never received a thank you. "I don't know what they do with the money. It probably went to the executives down there." he said.
OK, I had to say something. He knows I work at the SPCA-was he goading me? And I hated the fact that two people who may or may not know anything about the SPCA will have a bad view of our organization. So I said, you know I work at the SPCA, is there a problem? I'd like to correct it. He told me that his mother had died about 4 years ago and thousands of dollars were donated and he never heard a word.
I tried to explain that we do send thank you notes but he cut me off and told me I had no business being in on his conversation!
It left me frustrated because he cut me off and would not give me a chance to explain. Plus, I'm not sure how the SPCA will be viewed by the other 2 men. I could send a thank you letter and apologize for the oversight, but it might just get him worked up all over again. After all, his Mom passed away in 2008. It's hard to believe he still carries a grudge. Or maybe he was just trying to get me worked up.