How many of you have work or have worked in customer service? I guess this question really applies to anyone who deals with customers, be it face to face, over the phone or via email. Over the years it has become apparent to me that there are only really 2 types of personalities that you deal with.
1. The first type of personality understands that things go wrong sometimes. They remain cool, calm and collected and appreciated that it will take time to do the things you need to do to provide them with a solution. They are polite, patient and generally a pleasure to deal with. They have manners, and make your life a little bit easier. It's a lot easier to bend over backwards and go the extra mile to provide a solution to their problems. I like these people :-)
2. The second type of personality seems to have a very warped sense of reality. I'm sure they believe the universe is out to get them and that whatever their problem is, is a personal attack on them. They are generally quite rude, unreasonable and make your life quite unpleasant while you deal with them. I often wonder what kind of a world they're living in when they get so bent out of shape and act as if the world has collapsed around them because their... burger is cold, gadget won't go, delivery is late... etc. etc. These people are less likable :-(
There's not a lot that we can do about these types of people. But, there's a lot that we can do limit how these people affect us. Some people have the ability to let negative dealings slide off like the proverbial water off the duck. To those of you who can do this I salute you. To those of you who can't I hope I can't impart some wisdom and share some good advice with you today.
I was talking to a young colleague the other day after dealing with one of those "type 2" personalities. A particularly rude and impatient individual who thought the world owed him something and he was going to get it from me. I stayed polite and professional despite behaviour that led my young friend to comment later "I thought he was gonna skitz out and smack you..." Now, I've been dealing with this kind of stuff for far too long to take things to heart. This wasn't always the case though, there was a time when I felt these situations were a personal attack and I used to get quite upset and irritated by them - I'm a gentle soul, Love Actually is my favourite movie of all time :-) see ad to the right -
Look, when you're dealing with type 2 personalities you need to keep in mind that we have no idea what's going on in their world. They may be having a real crappy time lately, they may have lost their job, their marriage, a loved one a pet or any number of truly testing trauma which life throws at us from time to time. And they may be looking for a reason to vent their frustrations and sometimes you're the target (fair or not).
If you remember it's nothing personal it'll help make it easier to deal with. Just because they act like a douche bag doesn't necessarily mean they actually are a douche bag, and in a different situation they maybe one of the nicest people you could ever want to meet. Judge not lest ye be judged! We all have bad days and we all handle things differently. I'm sure you could think of times when you've handled yourself in a less than appropriate manner. Was that a true reflection of you? It happens to the best of us.
I reminded my young friend that the person we'd dealt with prior to angry man had been lovely, as was the person prior to that, and the one prior to that and so on and so on. In fact all of our customers prior had been great to deal with, they appreciated our efforts and left satisfied and confident of our abilities and service levels.
Now this is where things get interesting. What do we do with our experiences day to day. I bet my young colleague that when he got home that night he would tell the story of angry man and forget to mention the 30 other people who were polite, reasonable and happy with what we had done. He agreed. Do you do that? If you do STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!
I challenge you to stop focusing on the negative! if you're going to tell war stories when you get home, don't inflict the negative, gory battle stories on your loved ones. The last thing they need after a hard day at the office is more crap piled on them. If you must tell stories, tell them about that little old lady who brought you in a muffin for helping her, or the family that were so stoked you managed to fix their... or tell them how you were please that you managed to do "insert something positive here". Flush those crappy ordeals! Don't dwell on them.
Stop watching the news. Stop looking for the negative. Remember that 99% of the people you deal with are nice, they are polite and they do appreciate you helping them. Stop trying to convince yourself that 100% of people are nut cases and fruit loops.
Smile, take pride in whatever it is you do and search out as much good as you can. Life is much, much more betterer than it is bad. Don't take life so seriously, you won't get out alive!
Stop and think!