First Impressions Count!
Imagine for a minute. You are going out for a meal in a new, highly recommended 5 star rated restaurant.
On arrival, the Waiter directs you to your table.
Instead of giving you the customary ‘would you like a drink script’ or handing you the menu, he says this.
‘Good evening sir/madam, before I take your drinks order, I must explain what you should do if you feel you need to make a complaint; this form explains how to do it and includes numbers to call if you don’t feel you can talk to us.’
‘Please, can you sign this declaration to prove you understand how to make a complaint.’
I know I would start feeling suspicious and doubtful.
That was a weird thing to say!
Why would we need to make a complaint?
We only just got here!
This eatery is supposed to be top-notch.
Promotional brochures and a glossy website promise an extraordinary, out of this world culinary experience, as did reviews on trip advisor!
We haven’t even taken our jackets off, never mind looked at the menu or tasted the food.
For sure, my first and lasting impression of the restaurant will be forever tainted with uncertainty.
No matter how good the food was or is, there will always be an element of doubt.
Is it safe to eat here?
Is there a nasty surprise lurking in my food?
Do they know something we don’t?
Are they hiding something?
Before their bags have even touched the floor, the above scenario plays out on the day or a couple of days after, most young people’s admission to a new residential care placement.
Yes, children and young people should be made aware of how to make a complaint.
Yes, children and young people should know their rights.
But, the day of admission is an opportunity to make a lasting first impression.
Consciously or unconsciously young people will internalise that first encounter.
You are unknowingly giving young people a message — loud and clear right out the starting blocks.
‘There is something to be worried about here.’
You are setting the scene for a rocky road ahead.
What young people need to hear loud and clear is not how to make a complaint but
‘I am safe here.’