Kindness [publisher's letter]
I had an interesting call with a technology provider the other day. My email wasn’t working, so I went about the arduous task of trying to fix the problem, which I was ultimately not able to do. I then had to summon up the energy to make the “call” to get some help. As many of you know, this can be quite a process!
Alas, this time was no different, and the nice young man was indeed good natured about the whole affair as he kept asking me if I saw this or that, and I kept saying that I couldn’t see what he was talking about. This went on for a while until he realized I didn’t have administrative access to my own email. So that was the first thing he set about fixing.
In the meantime, I mentioned that it must be challenging to work with people like myself who don’t know enough about technology to understand all of what he’s talking about. His response was: “Well, I get two kinds of people on the line: those who want and take my help, and those who shout at me. I’m just happy that you’re someone who doesn’t shout at me!” I found that to be an interesting answer. He wasn’t concerned with how long it took, or how many times he had to explain something. In other words, he had all the patience in the world. He cared only about the fact that I wasn’t yelling at him!
I told him that in the past I had fallen into the trap of getting angry at the person on the phone because I was frustrated that something wasn’t working, but I learned that it didn’t get me any closer to resolving the problem and that, after all, the person on the other end of the line was trying to help―it wasn’t that person’s fault that something went wrong with the technology.
The phone call went on, and we were both relaxed and simply jumping through all the hoops to get the problem rectified. At one point, he asked again for a password (one of a number of passwords I had changed while I on the phone with him), and I laughed and said that I couldn’t remember it! His response was: “It’s so nice to hear a customer laugh!” I couldn’t believe it; I thought for sure by this time he’d be getting impatient with me, but no, he just waited for me to figure it out and gently said that it would be a good idea to write down these new passwords for future use.
We eventually got it all sorted out, and my email worked! And without one harsh word from either of us. This experience was a reminder to me to always be kind to people, no matter what the situation is. The effect we have on others is more dramatic than we might think.
Happy New Years!