To deliver great customer service the service provider must be ‘respons-able.’ Do you know what I mean by ‘respons-able?’ It’s the ability to choose our response. Humans are the only species that can do this–and most of us suck at it. Think about a frog sitting on a lily pad. And then a snake starts swimming its’ way. How’s the frog going to respond, by talking his way out of being eaten? No, he only has one response and that’s to flee.
Humans have the ability to choose our responses, we are ‘respons-able.’ There is a space between what happens to us, the stimulus and our response to what happens to us. And in that space is our ability to choose. More mature people have a wider space than immature people. More aware people know it’s important to use their space to always choose the best response, to be ‘respons-able.’
But you know people who are not very response able. These are the people who come to work in a bad mood because it’s Monday. And can only be in a good mood when it’s Friday. And only in the United States do we have a day when we can start building towards a good mood, we call it hump day.
People who are not very ‘respons-able’ are in bad moods because of the weather or the days of the week or when a jerk cuts them off on the highway. These things happen and any trace of a positive attitude disappear. They don’t know it but they feel they are victims of what happens to then–good or bad. They don’t think they are in control. You can hear it in their speak. “I can’t deliver great service because the salesperson over promised.” Or, “How do you expect me to reach the department goals? Look what’s moved in on me!”
Immature, unaware people may know the importance of being ‘respons-able’ and they may tried to come to work with a positive attitude. They’ll spend Sunday trying to get mentally prepared for Monday. They tell themselves, “It’s going to be a good day, I just know it, I can feel it.” They will go to bed early because they heard somewhere about the importance of a good nights’ rest.
When Monday morning comes they’re ready to go! They hop out of bed thinking only positive thoughts. And the first thing they hear is their spouse complaining but how much he hates Mondays. And when they are getting ready in the bathroom they see their husband flossed his teeth in front of the mirror again. They think, “Why does he do that? He knows I hate that.” And this is the start of the breakdown. Then, the kids are not listening, they don’t like their breakfast and they can’t find their school shoes. Their positive attitude breaks down even more, getting smaller and weaker. They walk out the door and it’s raining and they remember they left the umbrella at the office. The morning traffic is heavier than normal and some jerk cuts them off, more break down. And then the final straw, the breakdown is complete when they walk into the office only to find out their favorite co-worker called in sick. “Why didn’t she tell me she was going to call in sick? I would have called in too!” The day is shot to hell and it’s not even 9: am.
Only unaware people let this breakdown happen. Only immature people let the outside elements turn their positivity to dust. Service leaders carry around their own weather patterns. True professionals are not only aware of the space between stimulus and response, they work on ways to widen the space. The wider the gap the wiser their choices. They’re not upset about bits of food on the mirror, the rain or bad traffic.
Is your positive attitude environmentally sensitive? Does it breakdown when exposed to the elements? If you answered yes to any of these questions, what do you do to widen your space?
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