Shaking your head after a particularly draining conversation with a client can provoke a spectrum of reactions. The frustration level may leave you steaming or shivering with anxiety. In the perfect world we would love to have our clients and customers treat us with respect, understanding, trust, loyalty and have a tiny bit more patience.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
If we were to brainstorm around coffee we could come up with pretty specific attributes about customers that would make our lives easier, free up energy to be more productive and feel great about working by sharing our talents and passion.
Personal Pet Peeves:
- Last minute non-essential requirements
- Lack of patience
- Emails written with a rude tone
- The call, voice mail or email to tell me you called and another voice mail about the email they sent to tell me about the call and the email
- Expectation that I know everything
- Lack of understanding of what is and isn’t controllable
As professionals we need to be aware of our own expectations and be model customers. How To Be A Good Customer and Five Ways to Be a Good Customer are both must reads. What is the basic take away from all of these articles? What can you start applying today, if not right now?
I am saying that a little bluntly, however, I think it a good place to start. As marketing professionals we are used to a fast paced, high intensity environment and our expectations of performance are high. We need to truly take the concept of treating others like you would like to be treated seriously and realize our own expectations are sometimes likely irrational and unfair. That coffee girl at the drive through doesn’t know you are late for work and the only thing keeping you from getting off your rocker is that cup of coffee you are waiting for.
Second, I am going to challenge us to start communicating our needs and experience. In social media we are energized when we get customers to share their feedback about businesses we represent. We are delighted to see customers posting their experiences on Google Local, Yelp, Angies List and on our websites. The passive aggressive, silent treatment or the behind the business comments are no longer necessary.
In psychology class there is an interesting exercise called a cognitive log that has the participant write down “triggering” events which are the automatic emotions, thoughts and behaviors. During this exercise participants are asked to challenge the automatic thoughts with “is this true?” Then write down what alternative thoughts and behaviors they could have done. Cognitive logs are a tool that could easily be tailored to improve our reactions and stress levels when dealing with our own customers as well improving ourselves as customers.
Being respectful and communicating our needs should be a good start. So, let’s go out there and become the change we want to see in the world.
Don’t wait for things to be right in order to begin. Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt’s timeless advice, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Top Ten Things to Think About If You Want to Change the World, Positive Path
Taking a little bit more time to appreciate those who, like us, rely on working with people as a way of life is just good karma and maybe it will roll back around on those clients who we wish had a little more appreciation of us.