Customer service, a skill

1 Feb

Some days progress more satisfactorily than others; that’s not fatalism, it’s just a fact borne out of experience.  Those days aren’t always followed by a “high” of accomplishment or improvement, but more likely than not, a steady, plodding progression of days and hours without distinguishing factors.

It’s worse when you deal with people as a primary function of your job.  Not the people you work with, because those individuals belong to a group whose goals you (theoretically) share.  The public, who have no stake in the outcome of your work and its success, yet form an integral part of your job function, are an interesting animal with whom to deal.  Perhaps that’s the wrong perspective – “dealing with people” is suggesting that interactions are a burden to be endured instead of a relationship to establish.

Think back to when you start dating a person: you each offer the best version of yourself, in hopes that the good parts of your nature will overcome the eventual warts the other person will see.  We offer to the public our best selves (or we ought to), to receive from them a self that isn’t as dolled up.  Interacting with someone when they’re in a hurry, frustrated, or in need seldom brings out the best in that person.  What to do?

Benefit of doubt is an amazing tool: instead of conducting your business by rote, take a moment to create a back story for each person.  It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, as long as it provides you with a reasonable explanation for their behavior that also gives you a chance to feel sympathy toward them.  Sincerity is powerful in interpersonal relationships, and the best way to convince someone you’re sincere is to be sincere.  Even if the reason isn’t correct.

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