A while back, I spent a wonderful weekend in Saginaw, Michigan, with some really great…
Recently, I had a challenge with my mobile phone. I don’t know about you, but my cell phone has almost become part of my body. I rely upon it for almost everything I do. I can hardly remember what it was like before cell phones were invented! I love the fact that I am able to stay in touch with my family, friends and business associates on my cell phone. In my opinion, other than the fax machine and the computer, it is probably the greatest invention of all time. But, that is another story.
Anyway, I was at the local Verizon store waiting in line for my turn. There was a young woman ahead of me who was loud and angry. She started “chewing out” the customer service agent who was trying to help her. Every time he tried to explain what he could do to help her, she cut him off and would not let him speak. She was disrespectful, rude and incredibly angry. She let him know how important she was, how busy she was and how upset she was!
The problem seemed to be that her phone would not turn on no matter what she tried. She explained to the Verizon representative that the phone was malfunctioning and there was no way she could get it to take a charge. She went on to explain that she had tried every outlet in the hotel where she was staying and that she was here in Atlanta for an important business meeting. She loudly exclaimed that she did not have time to come to Verizon in the first place, and she needed a new phone, RIGHT THAT MINUTE!
The Verizon agent asked her if she happened to have her phone charger with her. She immediately began to explain to him again that she had tried the charger in every outlet in the hotel room and she was sure the outlets at the hotel were working perfectly.
The young man gently commented that he was not talking about the outlets at the hotel, but rather about the phone charger itself. If the charger was broken, no outlet in the world would charge the phone. He was patient, kind, helpful and gentle. However, regardless of what he said, she would not listen. She just wanted to be right!
I stood there and watched the whole thing amazed. I felt so sorry for the agent who was bending over backwards to try to help the unreasonable customer. He was patient and kind as he tried to get through to her that the problem was most likely the phone charger itself. But, because she was so upset, it was just impossible for her to hear what he was trying to tell her. She demanded a new phone.
When the agent explained to her that he could not do that, he again asked her if she happened to have her phone charger with her. And, of course, she didn’t. He then took her phone, plugged it in and it came on immediately. He said, “I’m pretty sure it is your phone charger.” At that point, he began to get her attention. He showed her that the phone began to charge when plugged into a properly functioning phone charger. Therefore, he concluded that her charger was the problem.
The woman then demanded that he give her a new phone charger, at which he said, “I’ll be happy to trade it out if you have the other one.” But, that just made her even more angry. She did not think she should have to turn in the faulty one for a new one.
She finally informed him that she would give him ten minutes to let the phone charge and that was all the time she had. Then she would go get the charger and bring it back, but she was already late for a meeting and shouldn’t have to put up with all of this! In a few minutes she left the store and the Verizon customer service agent calmly called for the next person in line.
By that time, I had already started working with another technician who was helping me with my challenge. After we finished, I was about to leave the store, but I just couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. I had been dying to say something, and, since the woman was gone, now was the time to do so. I walked over to the customer service representative who had been working with her and said, “Excuse me, I know that it’s none of my business, but I just want to let you know that you deserve a trophy! I have never seen anyone so kind and helpful as you were to that lady. She was totally out of control and could not hear a word you said. All you tried to do was to help her and all she wanted to do was be upset and angry. You are incredible and if I were passing out trophies, you would get a big one right now!” His face lit up like a Christmas tree! You would have thought he had won the lottery. Everyone else started smiling and laughing in agreement. I then said, “You are one incredible individual! I hope I have patience like you one day.”
You know, I was thinking about it later; I would imagine that when that young man went to bed that night, he probably didn’t remember much about that rude woman, but I guarantee he remembered the fact that I took up for him in front of everyone and gave him some words of encouragement.
All of us are able to do that. I don’t think it is appropriate to jump in the middle of every problem in the world, but I do think it is appropriate to let people know how much you appreciate them when you see them doing an exceptional job. I know it made his day. And, come to think of it, it made mine, too!
Tip: Take up for others – in an appropriate way.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm