INCREASING YOUR KNOWLEDGE
ASKING FOR HELP
When considering the job of a contact point
representative, we might agree with the old saying that
a little knowledge is dangerous. Dangerous may be a bit
strong, but personnel working at contact points do need
to be experts in their own rating to contribute effectively
Your knowledge of other contact points can also be
helpful to the customer, especially if customers must
visit several contact points to meet their needs. For
example, some activities may require a customer to
report to different contact points to check in, checkout,
reenlist, transfer, or effect separation. You need to know
what services customers can receive at other contact
points and know how to direct them to those points.
When the customer in case number 3 asked LPO
Brush about shipping his personal effects, he was told
to ask supply. LPO Brush should have told the customer,
The personal effects office on base makes all the
arrangements for personnel moves. When we moor, you
take copies of your orders and go talk to a contact point
representative at that office. Most likely the
representative will schedule you for an interview in
which you will be asked specific questions about your
personal effects. You may be asked about furniture
weight, storage requirements, special handling require-
ments, and desired pack-out and delivery dates.
We rarely have enough time, energy, or resources to
do everything that we need to do or that we would like
to do. To achieve teamwork, you must evaluate demands
to ensure the most important ones receive the most
attention. That will keep you from bogging down in
details and routines that leave little time for the
It has been said that a wise man isnt as stubborn
about anything as a fool is about everything. Not only
are we unable to do everything we want to do, we often
cannot do things our way. Contending with opposing
points of view is just part of lifeand of achieving
Compromise may be seen as a dirty word because
the idea of individualism gets mixed up with personal
preference. Compromise is not defeat; it is recognizing
that there might be a better way to do something and
being mature enough to explore it.
In chapter 3, we discussed the importance of
knowing your limitations. One such time is when the
problem exceeds your knowledge or ability to handle it.
That frequently happens since most contact points have
a wide range of responsibilities and few members know
all the answers. One of the main advantages of
teamwork is that help is normally available when you
need it. Taking advantage of that help prevents risking
an error that could result in unnecessary hardship or
inconvenience for the customer.
Whether to ask for advice or assistance or to refer
the customer to someone else depends largely on the
nature of the problem and the complexity of its solution.
If the situation permits, you can often ask questions that
will help you decide whether you should handle the
If your questions fail to gain enough information to
solve the problem, dont expect the customer to know
automatically where to go for help. Instead, provide the
customer with that information yourself. If you are
unsure of the contact point to which you should refer the
customer, take the needed steps to find out.
Be courteous to all customers when trying to solve
their problems. But be especially courteous to those who
are relatively inexperienced and new to the Navy. For
example, suppose you need to refer a customer to a
contact point in the immediate area of your building. You
might escort the customer to that contact point,
introduce the customer, and explain the problem.
However, when you make the referral, your manner
should assure the customer that you are NOT passing
the buck, but that the other contact point can best
provide the service.
The following scenario is a good example of how
asking for help can result in teamwork to solve a
The ships crew had just completed an UNREP and
was settling back into the underway routine. Mail call,
one of the more pleasant aspects of UNREP, had been
passed and everyone was eagerly catching up on the
news from home. The personnel office was no
differentthe members were engrossed in their letters
and occasionally sharing stories about what their loved
ones had said or done.
PNSN Frost looked up as ET2 Door rushed into the
office, May I help you?
I hope so! Ive got a problem!