By Mark D. Evans

If I told you I was good enough at cutting hair, would you let me give you a haircut?

If your answer was yes, I would be glad to meet you with a bowl, maybe some hedge trimmers and a pair of safety scissors to prove my point further. It is almost guaranteed that you would say something to me far less polite than “this looks really terrible” (in truth, it would look very bad).

But I said it would be “good enough”.

By admitting my hair styling skills are “good enough”, I am actually admitting and accepting it falls short of great – that it could stand to be much better. The term “good enough” doesn’t really live up to itself. Accepting “good enough” as an approach to a task, has never yielded excellence in any area. Haircuts included.

When it comes to matters of Emergency Social Services, there are many different ways for municipalities and NGO’s to approach this responsibility. But at the heart of the matter, ESS is about caring for your community – it’s about customer service.

I agree that sensible lines must be drawn as to what can be done during an emergency. However, this line should not be confused with having plans and procedures that are “good enough”.

If your approach to customer service is good enough, it probably leaves room for improvement.

Drawing a sensible line does not preclude ESS practitioners, responders or volunteers from offering an extra bit of customer service before, during, and/or after a conceivably traumatic event – some empathetic conversation, offering a cup of coffee, a small toy for affected children, spending a little extra time during registration, etc.

Ensuring that we try our absolute best to weave excellent customer service throughout the planning and service delivery of Emergency Social Services is not just a best practice – It’s the difference between an ESS program being good enough or being great.

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