Recently, I was returning an item to a local store. As I was waiting in line for the customer service representative to help me, there was a man and his wife ahead of me. The man wanted to purchase two of the same item, so he had printed two coupons from the store’s website. The manager explained that the coupon was only good for one item and that the computer was only able to accept one purchase of one item with one coupon at a time. That was not the answer the man wanted to hear! He became irritated and argumentative.
While I watched all of this transpire in front of me, I wondered why the man didn’t just purchase one of the items with one of the coupons and let his wife purchase another of the same item with the second printed coupon in a separate transaction. It would have been a simple solution to the problem, but I decided to hold my tongue.
Anyway, the man decided to make a federal case out of the fact that the manager would not do what he wanted him to do. He raised his voice at the manager and told him that it was ridiculous that he could not get two of the same items with two identical coupons. Rather than trying to cooperate in any way, he did not want to listen. He just wanted to be right! Every one of his responses brought more and more pressure upon himself and upon the manager. I noticed that his wife was embarrassed by the whole situation and I think she was looking for a place to go hide!
Finally, the manager suggested the very solution I had just thought of a few minutes earlier. He explained that it would be possible to use both printed coupons on two of the same items as long as they were processed in the computer as two separate transactions. Therefore, there would be two different charges on his credit card.
Well, as soon as the man discovered that what he was trying to accomplish could actually work, his whole demeanor changed. He became nice and cooperative. He got his two separate discounts by purchasing two of the same products in two different transactions and left the store.
I was next in line. I explained to the manager that I had purchased the wrong item and needed to exchange it for an upgraded, more expensive model. At first he said he did not think he would be able to do that because the product had been opened. I told him I completely understood and went on to explain that I had not used it. I politely asked him if there was anything he could do to help me. I also explained that I simply wanted to upgrade my item to a more expensive product.
After looking at the package, the manager agreed to exchange it for an upgrade after all. I told him that I did not want him to do anything that would get him into trouble, but he assured me that what he was doing was within the guidelines and procedures of the store’s policies – especially since I was getting an upgrade and spending over $100 more on a similar product.
My interaction with the manager was very different from the gentleman who was before me. His interaction had been heated and difficult, which brought pressure. Mine had been warm and friendly, which brought about an exchange that was pleasant. Both of us had experienced a problem, but we each handled things in a very different manner.
I not only thanked the manager, but also told him that I thought he had handled the previous couple before me very well. I complimented him on his patience and his creativity. He said, “As a store manager, you sometimes have to bend over backwards to work with people, but that is the way to keep customers coming back to your store!” I again commented that I felt he did an excellent job and had remained calm throughout the entire process. I also commented on his creativity in allowing the man to actually accomplish what he was trying to do in the first place – just in a different manner, with two different purchases.
As I left the store, I thought about the difference in the way people deal with others. When you offer a wrong response to someone, pressure will begin to build. However, if you offer a right response to a person, pleasure will be the result. And, the interesting thing is, all of us have the choice as to how we respond to others. Whether a wrong response or a right response occurs is up to us. We are the ones who control the words that come out of our mouths and ultimately create either pressure or pleasure.
I don’t know when will be the next time you face a hard situation, but I want to encourage you to respond in a positive, upbeat, encouraging manner. If you do, you can watch pleasure occur and see the value of this Tip. It is something that will pay big dividends, not only in relationships, but in your wallet as well!
Tip: Wrong responses bring pressure, but right responses bring pleasure!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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