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Communicating with DEs?

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I had a question for which I needed an authoritative answer so I called the council office and explained what I was seeking. I was told, "You need to talk to your DE." DE's not there so I leave a voice mail. Then I send a follow up email. A few days later, I leave another voice mail followed by another email. No answer.


Call the council office again, explain what's going on and ask if there's someone other than the DE to talk to. Nope, gotta talk to the DE.


It isn't just this DE. We've had three DEs in the time that I've been a Scouter and none of them return calls.


Is this part of the normal DE M.O.?



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Your council should never give you that kind of answer. Your DE has a supervisor. If you're not getting a response ask to speak to that person and don't take no for an answer.


I have the cell phone number for my DE. The fact is he is rarely in the office. The office voicemail system is also antiquated -- they don't get a visual alert that they have a message waiting so unless that actually check they don't know. Also messages apparently are purged automatically if not picked up within a certain period of time.

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I have also experienced frustration at trying to reach our DE's through Council. Finally cornering them at a Roundtable one night and discussing with them my frustration about communications, I found out one DE prefers email and the other DE likes the cell phone. Ever since then I have received better service from the DE's. Maybe it is just finding out their preferred method of contact.




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As a key 3 we have looked at communication.

Our DE. Pam works from her home office, only going to the service center once or twice a week.

Messages left there seem to get lost in some kind of a black hole.

Some of our volunteers were a little upset that when they phoned that she wasn't there?

Others were upset that she didn't get back that same day.

There seemed to be little or no understanding that she is not on call 24/7.

Yes she does take vacations and has been known to get ill.

We also looked at why people were calling.

Most of the time they were talking to the wrong person.

A lot of the time the person that they ought to have been talking too was their Unit Commissioner or Assistant District Commissioner.

In some cases they needed to call one of the members of the District Committee.

If none of these people can help, it is up to them to get hold of the DE and then get back to the volunteer.

As a District Chairman, I would much sooner see the DE doing work for the district, then dealing with problems that are at the unit level.

It is an ongoing problem, first with the calls she is getting and then reminding her that she should not be doing the stuff that the volunteers are there to do.

If there is something that only a pro. can deal with, I would go through the ranks till I got to the person who could deal with the question. If the Field Director, Assistant Scout Exec. Or the Scout Exec. Had no idea what I was talking about. I would start to think that maybe this wasn't a Council problem and would look to the District volunteers.

As a key3 we meet weekly and talk to each other a lot so there is very little going on that we don't share.


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The answer to the question isn't as easy as it ought to be.


Eamonn raises excellent points. A lot of the time, the call that goes to the DE should be addressed by a district volunteer. In that case, however, it should be pretty easy for the DE to either return the call (or email) and say, "here is who can answer your question," or call the volunteer and ask them to call the person who called the DE.


I also agree with the poster who said you should call and ask for the DE's supervisor. If the DE is known to the supervisor as one who returns calls, he or she will let you know that. Sometimes, however, the DE is lousy with that kind of thing -- and is on the path to finding another line of work whether voluntary or involuntarily -- and the supervisor will need to know of the problem to be able to address it.


I also agree that multiple types of communication should be tried and it's okay to have a conversation with the DE to find the preferred method. In my own particular case, email is my favorite. I can answer it any time and don't have to worry about waking someone up.


When someone leaves a voice mail for a DE, it should be remembered that we're all human. If you've been a pain in the . . . and are known to be long-winded or rude, the DE probably will be in no hurry to call you back. Similarly, if you're not clear on what the issue is your message may get shoved to the bottom of the pile.


I can also tell you that it is not uncommon for a DE to simply go out to lunch for an hour and come back and have 5-10 voice mails waiting for them, I want to see them about a report that's past due (often because they were side tracked a lot, but helping customers which is why we're here) and they may have two more meetings that afternoon that preclude them getting back to you today. However, they should have a follow-up system and should most certainly get back to you.



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