Difficult times, like the recent wind storm, test people’s ability to cope. They can provide an opportunity for kindness, empathy, patience, etc., but can also bring out the dark side in people. For example, with power out most everywhere and people clamoring for warmth, electricity or a hot meal, it was time to visit a local fast food joint. Like the holidays, when I ventured out, I expected it to be a bit dodgy; there would be signals out, roads closed and lots of people. I expected it. I prepared for it. Surely everyone would do the same. Nope! This was a chance for some to vent their frustration on an unsuspecting, overworked, underpaid teenager. Here I am, the place is packed and staff is swamped, so of course, having not received his coffee 30 seconds after ordering it, some guy decides it’s time to verbally abuse the cashier. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed, the incident passed, the person looked a fool, and everyone afterwards seemed more patient and understanding. Maybe that’s the silver lining; when people saw that behavior, their reaction was to be better.
Everyone has expectations; some are reasonable and some are not. At Freedom, our goal is to meet or exceed those expectations even though doing so can be a challenge (like the situation above). In those cases, we show we are better by listening, empathizing, being patient, etc. even if it doesn’t always help. Sometimes the calmer we are the angrier people get, but most times it diffuses the situation and shifts expectations. More importantly, we expect that how we react will be an example for any onlooker; that we can decide to be better; that we set the expectation for others. Errors and complaints are part of the job and have to be addressed, but there are limits. No one is to be abused, intimated, or made to feel uncomfortable.
Our strategic goals focus on both the member and employee experience. One easily influences the other and Freedom has expectations for each. As a result, members and employees alike bear responsibility for their actions and are held accountable for the affect they have on the overall Freedom experience. We will, therefore, do everything possible to provide services, meet needs, or resolve an issue; but protecting the physical and emotional well-being of those involved while creating a positive experience for all is an absolute priority.