Take the Risk to Deliver Great Service


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I personally have been reminded recently that when it comes to human emotions, people may interpret the same event very differently.  Everyones’ past and their personal experiences influence their viewpoint.  I recently hurt a very good friend because I was looking at the event exclusively from my viewpoint, never even imagining the same event could be interpreted any differently.  In fact, I never even realized they were upset until weeks later, because it hadn’t even occurred to me that my actions could be upsetting to someone else. 

Because customer service is also about developing relationships with our clients, great customer service can by risky, resulting in our feelings being hurt at times.  Smiles may not be reciprocated, we may receive condescending remarks in response to a genuine desire to help, or clients can bring their business to the competition even when we have delivered great service.  It can hurt our feelings and make us feel badly, stopping us from offering the best service possible.  But in fact, the actions of our clients may have nothing to do with us.  If you are delivering the best customer service experience possible, you should accept the fact that perhaps the person was worried about the weather, had a fight at home before they saw you, has been hurt, was worried, had financial issues, or even experienced a deep loss. 

Dale Carnegie is known for telling the story of a man who boarded a train with his children.  The children were running all over the train making a raucous; the man was oblivious.  Finally another passenger, who was becoming madder by the minute, went up to the man and pointed out the interruption his children were making on the train.  The man looked around, saw his children, and apologized, explaining his wife and their mother had recently passed away at the hospital.  They were all still a little shocked.  At this information, the complainer immediately felt empathy for the man and instead of feeling anger, offered help. 

Sometimes we need to give people the benefit of the doubt.  We don’t necessarily know what is behind their actions when they yell at us, don’t return our smile, or leave to go to the competition.  When it is our actions who have hurt someone else, we need to apologize – even if we didn’t mean to hurt them – and hope they are gracious and give us a chance to make it right.  It means you become vulnerable, opening yourself up to the chance you may be hurt again.  But taking the risk is what makes life worth it.

If you liked this blog, you may also like my blog on 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Clients

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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