July 1, 2009
Has this ever happened to you in business?
Ok, we all know what it is to have an elated moment filled with possibilities after that time in your day or week that you had high hopes for, and the best you could wish for actually did transpire, or event better, the outcome exceeded your expectations; making the sale, meeting a new friend, hitting it off with a new love relationship, getting great feed back concerning a serious task or project you have concluded, a compliment from the least expected source, etc. . . .
Only to have your balloon flattened in one second flat, by a quick and searing complaint or blast by a person or letter in the mail, over an issue you were completely unaware of . . . only mere moments after your earlier triumph.
Can anyone say “emotional crash and burn?”
To say the least.
So after this just happened to me today, I decided to take a minute and evaluate the countless times this has or could happen in a lifetime, and practice first, with how I should personally react on my part before I try to help someone else lick their own wounds, not to mention keep my anger under control.
One always fares best when they take time to count backwards from 10 to 1 and maybe even spend the new day or so letting things settle.
First of all, I asked myself – “did the bad comment or attitude have anything to do with the earlier good news or experience?”
If it’s not even related, then I am more quickly to dismiss this or place it in the right proportion, if it’s something I tried to address and handle immediately, to put a fire out.
If it is related, I work quickly to resolve this issue so as to maintain the integrity of the great moment that can be so quickly dissolved by one bad drop of acid.
Secondly, I ALWAYS consider the source. There are people that are direct by nature that have no finesse in handling a sensitive or maybe even seemingly insignificantt issue, or some that will be insecure and jealous with their character who LOVE to cut you off at the knees to watch you wince, merely out of spite (that one is the worst).
Or maybe, that person was having a bad day themselves, or that institution felt the need to put you in the list of numbers to call on for protocol and to avoid a disaster within their own four walls.
I realize that with business etiquette, both corporations and most people when agitated or provoked by something that you aren’t present to witness, forget the sandwich method (good news, bad news, follow up with good news) in the way of plain ole’ good will and manners. Plus, sometimes people, especially in a bad economy in business, forget that to lose a customer over a trivial fit, could cost them thousands in referrals, and other incredible future alliances.
My situation today was that as a customer of a local whole sale supply house that I had been doing business with for nearly 5 years now, blasted me unannounced when I called in to a sales rep and friend I had I made at this place of work.
Apparently, she had done some sort of performance on the job that was truly an area she should have been gently reprimanded for ( and was ), but only between her and her supervisor . . . certainly a simple thing to accomplish without involving me – although I do have some influence over my friend in a good way with suggestions to help her along.
It was abrupt and unnecessary for me to even know what had happened.
Sifting through my mind, I remembered a couple of other incidences that were strangely out of professional character towards myself and clients that wouldn’t surprise me would cost them business other than just mine.
Earlier today, I had made a fabulous business connection that at the same time, produced a brand new client, anda fun and profitable experience for the upcoming months.
Only about one hour later I received a quick and unkind slam on the phone from the very people I drop bucks to in business every single week without fail.
Hence, instead of reacting uncool and without my own manners, I decided to react with a low tone and friendly response . . . and made up my mind firmly that I probably should have left that institution long before this with what I had witnessed before with some of the other temperamental personnel.
Partly my fault for sticking around, but then again, you try to be understanding and long suffering with a grouchy sales rep that quite obviously possesses a “I am so loved I can’t possibly be fired for insulting any and all customers even within ear shot”.
It always helps to forgive, but it also helps for you to forget by removing yourself from a repeat offender and to keep things low key by giving the competition a nice new customer . . . without announcing it.
Taking myself out of the line of fire, while maintaining the new friendship I had with their associate, has brought me a sense of relief and will certainly bring a little reprieve in that the competition sells goods for far less in pricing – with a great excuse to not have to explain myself for leaving a long standing business relationship along with the taking my dozens of referrals I give each year . . .
Now on the other hand, I could stick around, walk in the door as I do weekly and simply ignore the previous insult as I had before, but this time, I realized, I simply have learned to respect myself too much to take it lying down.
So to you in business, remember who you talk to on the phone that are customers – no matter how much or how little they spend, if they are a good customer, take a breath and decide IF your bad day is worth the lost economical contribution from them. Some things are better left unsaid.
For the customer insulted by a vendor, you decide, if you see a pattern, get the heck out if you do and remember the “3 strikes you are out rule”.
It’s not your place to handle repeat offenses if you have the means and place to reconvene – and to keep from feeling like you have to duck from the insults like the Soup Natzee!
To those that stay and take it, and don’ address it, but keep on and then complain – these ears are not the best place to voice the altercation.
And as my father said . . . if you want to be noticed, make yourself absent!
This is not meant to be selfish or a punishment to my former supplier, but simply is a lesson to them, that one can only take so much.
Enough is enough.
But let this be known, I learned myself, WHAT NOT TO DO, and how important it is to hold one’s tongue and use that gentle manner if I do need to address an issue with a client.
The tongue can spread like a flame of wildfire – so the Bible says, and yet, a soft answer turns away wrath.
But notice, even Jesus said to shake the dust off of your sandals and leave if your message and presence is not respected.