Annual Client Surveys: Bouquets and Brickbats

Many years ago, when I was in college, the library had a bulletin board where people could post notes with comments, and I always loved that they titled the comment/complaint board: “Bouquets and Brickbats.” Bouquets were of course the kind and complimentary comments. Brickbats were critical and sometimes insulting comments. As I’ve been reviewing our annual client surveys, I’ve found overwhelmingly more bouquets than brickbats, but there are certainly a few critical comments that our staff needs to address. Definitely the survey questions about most and least favorite meals resulted in the least consensus. Not surprisingly, many meals that are touted as favorites for some clients are listed as least favorites for other clients. Items such as fish and broccoli are particularly polarizing, with many clients expressing strong opinions from both sides. Some people would like more Asian food, and others hope to never see it again. The most consistent client opinion throughout the survey is that staff and volunteers are excellent. Not a single person reported that the volunteers and staff weren’t polite and respectful. I couldn’t agree more! Without exception, our staff is hard-working, caring, and focused on serving our clients. And our amazing volunteers accomplish more each day than can be imagined: They help prepare, package, and serve meals. They help clean! They take care of our dining rooms and support our staff. They deliver the meals and keep an eye on our clients. They provide administrative support and serve on our Advisory Council. Meals on Wheels is incomplete without our volunteers, and I feel privileged to work with them and our excellent staff! Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey and to provide comments, good or bad. I’ve included the scores for the survey questions on page 5, so please take a look to see how your evaluation compares to the opinions of other clients. And please know that we take complaints and suggestions seriously, and we’re already planning how we can improve as we move forward, trying to provide the best service we can. In the next few months, I’ll address some of the specific comments and let you know what steps we’re taking to remedy issues or incorporate suggestions. Until then, I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kristi Thien

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