In our workshops we highlight the need for responses to be both compliant and responsive. In fact, a question on this usually comes up on the APMP Foundation level accreditation exam.
I was with my partner Carol recently when she received a compliant answer and was left very dissatisfied. This happened was ordering an iced coffee at a coffee shop. She asked the person taking her order whether the iced coffee came in a dark roast, as the shop offered several different roasts. “No” was the response she received. Carol asked, “So, I can only get an iced coffee in the regular roast?” This time the response was, “Yes.”
As you can imagine, while this is a compliant response, it is hardly responsive. The response didn’t acknowledge Carol’s desire for a different roast. It didn’t provide an explanation as to why she couldn’t get an iced coffee in a dark roast.
As she and I discussed, the response would have been much better received if it was something like, “Unfortunately, our iced coffee is only available in our regular roast. I’d be happy to pass along to management your request.” In that way, the response would have acknowledged Carol’s desire for a different roast and shown a desire to try and honor her request in the future. With this response, the coffee shop would have scored higher with Carol. Instead, it lost points.
A good reminder for all of us to check that the responses we develop are both compliant and responsive, in turn causing our proposals to score higher and be better received.