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January 2018 DDGM Article for The Word

Customer Service.  As the Holiday Season winds down, it is likely that many of us will have some sort of interaction with the Customer Service department of one or more businesses.  But, what does that phrase mean for us, as Masons? Who, exactly, are our customers?

For those of us who are Grand Lodge Officers and Lodge Officers, the answer is simple.   The “customers” that we serve are our Brothers and our prospective Petitioners.  Notice that I said, “…we serve…” If you’re an Officer or a Grand Lodge Officer who thinks that the Brethren are here to serve your interests or your ego, then do us all a favor and go join some other organization! In my Official Visit speeches this year I outlined some of the reasons why we are losing men from the Fraternity.  Simply put, we aren’t giving our customers what we promised them and we aren’t taking care of them.  Like any dissatisfied customer, they are taking their business elsewhere.

I’m not at all saying that our Senior Wardens are failing in their duties.  Frankly, the issue is bigger than that.  When we do things like make Brothers from Regular, foreign jurisdictions wait months to affiliate, make our own Brothers wait months for a dues card, fail to learn a new Brother’s name, or fail to spend even a few minutes speaking with a potential Petitioner who is inside of our Lodge building and asking about joining the Fraternity, we have failed as an institution.  The Brothers and the Petitioners don’t necessarily know or even care whose fault at the Lodge (or at Grand Lodge) it was that their ball got dropped.  All that they see is it rolling away.  And all that we see is those men walking away.  You see, for an institution that prides itself on principles of Brotherhood and humanity, we seem to treat our humans an awful lot like numbers (and sometimes a whole lot worse).  Is it any wonder that our numbers are decreasing?

My Brothers, we can, and simply must, do better in the coming New Year and every year afterward.

I wish all of you and yours a safe and joyous Holiday Season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Scott

 

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The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of the State of New York