By Tim Helenthal
Chairman & CEO
Remember rolling your eyes at your parents because you thought they didn’t know what they were talking about?
And then you got in trouble for being disrespectful?
I know it hurts to hear this so much later in life: They were right and you were wrong.
To be a rock & not to roll
Rolling your eyes was disrespectful then and, all these years later, it’s still disrespectful—even if you’re 100% right. (So yes, you now can feel secure in the notion it’s not the end of the world to be out a few minutes after your curfew—though you probably should’ve gotten over it by now.)
The difference between now and then is: You’re an adult and represent your company. Instead of being sent to your room, the rolling-eyes mentality might cost you money and opportunity.
We’ve all had that customer. The one who’s never satisfied, always agitated and wants way more than mere mortals can deliver. You know … the one who rolls his eyes when your responses fall short.
Don’t be disrespectful
I know it’s natural to want to roll your eyes back at him, but I’m telling you: RESIST. The customer hired you because you’re a professional and the expert. Rolling your eyes or showing other disrespectful body language makes it seem as if all those advertisements preaching great customer service were just a sham.
After all, your ads don’t say “great customer service for only nice or incredibly knowledgeable customers.”
I know this is easier said than done. But the difference between good vs. great leadership means entering a combative customer situation armed with the knowledge of how important it is exuding respectfulness—even if you don’t really feel it.
You’re being watched
Remember, your employees are watching how you handle these incredibly difficult situations. They will emulate your actions. Do you really want all your employees choosing the customers they deem worthy of respect?
Mastering this difficult task will make you stand apart from others in your field. Taking these maddening, seemingly impossible interactions and turning them into “wins” will reflect well on you and your company’s reputation.
So, clear your throat. Swallow your pride. Put on your best face. Keep your peepers unrolled and your sights set squarely on serving the customer and your company.
Then go home and stay out extra late this weekend. Mom and Dad don’t ever have to know.
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