Why Listen?

 
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Why Listen?

Written By: Sandi MacCalla ~ 6/13/2022

Many of us are “tough customers” when navigating life through traffic, food service, shopping, medical care, and all other venues. All of our social savviness can be put to the test with those serving us (cashiers, reception, customer service, et al). There are ways to minimize rough exchanges.

In the years I served homeowners as an Association/Property Manager, my colleagues and I fine-tuned separating the personal verbal assaults from the problem at hand, by:

  • Listening for the problem to surface in the angry comments.BLOGPOST_WhyListen071120202.jpg
  • Knowing that the emotions were not personally directed at us.
  • Asking thoughtful questions to clarify the issues involved.
  • Being thorough in hearing and verifying the factors, including the emotional ones that may not have been relevant, but impactful.
  • Giving full attention to the person and the pain; not dismissing or correcting their perception.
  • Take notes to assure accuracy and completeness.

When there was an exception to protocols (like wearing masks for protection) and without compromising standards, I found it was usually best to:

  • pivot into an “advocate” role to help find immediate solutions (such as providing a free mask), or
  • In the case of no ready solution, seek out a “next-level-up” staff person to provide a resolution.
  • Lower your voice, keep calm and assure them that we’d find an answer:
    • “Let me see how I can be of help.”
    • Accompany the person through to a solution.

As has been evidenced, we don’t know the pressures or pain others are dealing with. In traffic, in person, or on the phone, actively serving others has many side benefits:

  • In extreme cases, it can save your life.
  • You can extend kindness when others are far away from their better self.
  • Your organization will not lose a customer and may gain word-of-mouth or good-review customers.
  • You will impact the world – one person at a time.

And I remind myself that this works both ways – like when I need help and am stretched beyond my bandwidth. I can impact the person helping me by leaving them with a smile, glad that they were helpful. We each can make our mark on the world for good.


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