Tips for Dealing with Agencies
I know you don’t want to hear this but it really pays to be nice. It’s funny because so many times when people hire an attorney, they expect to have someone who is going to be jumping up and down on a table and screaming about “YOU better help my client OR ELSE!”.
Well, let me be the first to tell you that I am the complete opposite. I still believe in the old adage “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.
I know this sounds really corny but you gotta appreciate why I say these words. It’s really beneficial that you are nice when dealing with these individuals. However, it doesn’t stop there. I’m not saying you need to be nice 24/7 but here are few thoughts to keep in mind:
1) If everyone else is ‘cussing them out’, why would you join in on the ‘cussing’? I have dealt with so many different agencies that deal with the public and have to listen to being told off, cussed out, threatened, or even, humiliated by someone. You can’t be surprised when you run across an Agency employee who seems to not really care. It’s not that they don’t care, but sometimes when you NEED something, you don’t think about the person you’re asking. You are so busy wanting to ‘put them in their place’ and ‘make them recognize’ that they better get it right, you don’t stop for ONE second to think about them. Put it like this, if someone cussed you out for something that you are, in good faith, trying to do, what do you do??
2) Threatening almost NEVER works! Be mindful of who you are talking to when you are dealing with agencies. If you are dealing with the federal government and you THREATEN to go to your governor, do you REALLY expect that agency person to be moved? And please, get it out of your mind that just because you KNOW someone, you think this is going to be a powerful bargaining chip. You have to understand that by ‘threatening someone’, you put yourself in an adversarial position. If someone threatened you, would you REALLY go out of your way to help?
3) I’m sure their phone isn’t broke. Why are you calling 2 to 3 times a day??? And don’t give me that crap about “I’m making sure they got the message”. I understand if you call twice in one day and then wait a few days and then call back. However, if you are calling 2 to 3 times a day and leaving a message, the person is reviewing your message 2 to 3 times a day. Do you really think that they are going to rush to deal with you??
4) There is a way to use the system. Stop grumbling and just deal with the system. Pay attention to where you went. Pay attention to when you went. If the person is not helping you or being rude or belligerent, ask to speak to a supervisor. If you don’t get any recourse, then contact your government representative or get a lawyer. Why waste time trying to MAKE someone do something? Just take advantage of the resources available to you.
5) Remember who you talked to and when and their number. I know you don’t believe this but you really should make a practice of paying attention to who you spoke to and remember their number. Don’t think I don’t do it. I deal with Social Security Administration every day and I know who I can call in certain offices who will be nice to me. No shame in my game.
6) Put it in writing. The easiest way to demonstrate a commitment is to put it in writing. Document when you called. Document when you stopped by. Document who you spoke with or dealt with and document what they did. Trust me. No matter how good your memory may be, you can’t remember everything.
7) You would be surprised by the number of things you can get by being nice or polite. Yes, yes, I know this is corny. When people call me from agencies, when I am asked how I am doing, I always say “I’m just PEACHY KEEN!”. Now, you may think that’s corny. However, you would be surprised at how “disarming” that statement and how much it makes people laugh. When you are dealing with people on a regular basis who are cussing you out and telling you off, you like to deal with someone who will make you smile.
8) People remember the people who stand out. GOOD or BAD! At the end of the day, people are PEOPLE! They remember the people who are helpful. They remember the people who are polite. They remember the people who are pleasant. They, also, remember the people who are rude. They remember the people who STANK! They remember the people who unbearable.
Listen, I’m never going to tell you that you need to “suck up” or “belittle yourself” in order to get something, but you have to reverse the roles for a second. A lot of the people in these agencies are doing the work of 2 people in order to service twice as many people than they can handle. They understand your plight and they genuinely want to help. However, they are still PEOPLE and I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t respond to any “Showing Out” and I’m sure you don’t either. So why would you expect someone who works for an agency to respond??