Choosing How to RespondBefore I became focused on the world of personal improvement, I held roles in corporate America related to customer satisfaction and business process quality. There were several phrases that have stuck with me from that time:

  • How come we never have enough time to do it right but always have enough time to do it over?
  • Anything can be made into a problem if enough meetings are held to discuss it.
  • And one of my favorites was from a store called Stew Leonard’s which was “Rule 1: The customer is always right! Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule 1!”

Several recent customer experiences reminded me of those sayings and of how we can sometimes forget about the impact of our actions and words on the other person in a conversation.
While there have been a few that have left me wondering what the other person was thinking, the following is one example.

I was waiting in my car in a line for one of two ATM machines to open up. The person in front of me moved on and so I drove up to that ATM. A minute later the person behind me had an opening and drove up to the other one. Just as I rolled down my window to use the ATM, an employee from the armored car company walked over and asked if I could use the other one. I asked why he didn’t approach me before I pulled into the line, before the person behind me pulled into the other ATM, and before the line of cars behind me made it difficult to back-up. I finally managed to back up but I had lost my place to 7 other cars and left. I came back later and spoke to a bank representative who indicated the person was not an employee of the bank but they would mention it to their manager.

The experience inconvenienced me and had me question whether he was thinking through his actions. In the end, I made a choice to take an action that allowed me to resolve the negative emotion I was feeling.

There is a saying that we cannot change the other person, we can only change our reaction to them. I might not understand the actions of some Customer Service people or they the negative impact of their actions, but I could chose to step back, and change how I feel and/or gain closure.

How do you take into consideration the impact of your actions on others? Is your first step to react or respond to something that might trigger you? If it is to react, it could be time to look at your shadows and projections in a deeper way –

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