The benefits of positive thinking (press 1 for someone who cares)
In a recent encounter with a business, I was left with the impression that they simply didn’t care. After the all too familiar “press ONE for this” automated dialogue, I guessed at the number that would best address my issue. After a warm exchange with a monotone computer-generated voice and an additional extended period of listening to music I didn’t care for, I was able to finally get to a live person. At this point in the experience, positive thinking wasn’t the first thing on my mind.
We’ve all felt negative about a customer service experience at some point
So I explained to the representative that I was unable to complete an online transaction. They merely explained that this happens frequently, and to try again. “Wow, that’s a good idea! I’ll try that,” I said… thankfully, my filter was working that day. The interaction did not make me feel like a valued customer and it was easy to walk away from this feeling negatively.
This is a common way of doing business today. There are advantages to using technology in customer service. However, efficiency does not always translate into effectiveness.
Making a difference with positive thinking in your life
Thinking back about my phone conversation earlier, it dawned on me that there were two participants in the call. What had I done to make a profound and positive difference in this situation? The short answer is: nothing.
Never assume you will have a bad experience
I had recently read a blog by Dr. Tony Ferretti, a licensed psychologist and relationship expert. The blog is titled PUT ON YOUR POSITIVE PANTS. He offers great insight and suggestions on how to be more positive in your life.
He points out: “When we assume, which is never a good idea, we rely on our own perception which can sometimes be distorted. Negativity can also be a way to justify keeping others at arm’s length and not being vulnerable. Most people prefer to not be around a negative person very much and will limit their exposure to this type of person.”
I realized that after pressing several digits on my phone and dealing with an extended wait time, I expected a negative outcome – acted appropriately to that assumption — so that’s what I got.
How to think – and act – positively
A few days later I needed to call the Social Security Administration to get assistance for a client. I decided this would be a great time to see if my “positive pants” fit. After being on hold for almost an hour – a frustrating experience – I was finally connected to a representative.
Instead of going directly into the issue at hand or being defensive, I started by saying “I’m so glad you’re the one who answered. Word has it that you are THE person to talk to on this issue.”
Of course, I had no way of knowing who this person was, but it got a laugh from the representative and brought a smile into their day. It was fun for me as well. Did it help? It likely made them feel more connected to my issue, at a minimum.
From making a positive and profound difference in this service rep’s life for just a few minutes, it brightened their day and helped resolve my issue in the first call. Always consider the benefits and value of positive thinking!