Patience and Intention Experiments

Posted in New by Harsha on July 31, 2007

I think too often, people behind the counter (service consultants)
don’t genuinely acknowledge the fact that one has had to wait to get
things done and people in front of the counter (customers) forget that
you have probably been yelled at or dealt harshly with, most of the day.

This comes from an email I just wrote to a service center representative and copied his boss at a local car dealership. This is eventful because it comes in conjunction with me reading Dale Carnegie’s book, as written in an earlier post. I can’t say the person dealing with me was overly friendly (a turnoff sometimes) but something about him reflected a reasonable, sweet and calm personality (is it freaky that I was reading "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, while waiting at the service center?).

Mashing the two books/ideas together and my own observations, I definitely feel strongly about the quote. I think another common mistake people on either side of the counter make, is to forget that each is just doing his/her job (or chore). Each has a home, a family and life. The Service Consultant is still a person; he/she doesn’t take up the shape, form or personality of a dealership. I’ll be very interested in poking around to see what sort of training program that particular dealership has, because when I looked around, other Service Consultants seemed to share my guy’s view as well.

Last year, I had a similar experience with the Town of Arlington, MA Town Clerk who cut the usual red tape and got my work done in 4 days, what usually takes 14 days! I am not kidding …. this comes after the fact that I briefly felt ignored when I walked in there for the first time. What was the charm that worked?? I did not put up a fight with them on the paperwork they needed to process my request. Apparently, someone before me had worked up a storm when asked for more paperwork and I came in with a humbler approach and friendliness. It got my work done.

So the Town Clerk’s office’s pain-point was the heated debate that people got in over paperwork. Similarly, the car dealership service center’s pain point is probably the fact that customers (I hate the word) come in yelling or upset over the smallest of things. When I took care of both issues, the doors opened for me.

And oh, the Service Consultant sent me home without charing a pie for the diagnostic services ($94/hr + tax)! I don’t care if you’re thinking "oh well, they did it to trick this guy into coming back", because I don’t think that was the intention.

I’ve always tried to reward good intention from what I understand of the situation. If I get cheated by someone, the only thing that will work out in the end is a person’s karma. I care about good intention because, that is what differentiates monsters from humans.

Patience and good intention …. we all could use more of it, couldn’t we?


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