“Good morning?” She asked over the phone in a rather pleasant tone to her voice. “How may I help you?” She continued as her standard opening line from her customer service desk.
“I am excellent. Thank you.” I responded with a smile on my face.
She noticed it too. “That is quite a bright and cheery response for this early in the morning,” she stated.
I went on to share with her that there is no reason to be anything but grateful. It is a beautiful day, and my expectation is that I’m going to make it that way. Plus, just because I may have a customer service issue with her company does not mean that I have a personal issue with her.
It seems that took her back a little bit as she explained, “That was rather refreshing”. Then, she told me that most of the time her job entails listening to people complain all the time although she does enjoy her job. She likes listening to people, solving problems and does not mind listening to people yell and scream.
That really is a skill set, and I told her such. We need people to be able to do what she does. Customer service is a very thankless job with a very high burn out rate. It is one that requires a special kind of person who can listen, not get emotionally attached to the situation and keep smiling regardless of the circumstances.
“I know what you mean.” She acknowledged, and added her own thoughts. “We had someone come in and talk to us about staying motivated.” He taught them to not become emotionally attached to the situation as well as keeping everything into perspective. It is only an “inconvenience” he taught them. It is not “life or death”.
There is a big difference, too. If I am calling, because my cable television is not working properly (which, in fact, was the reason for my call) it is truly a mere inconvenience. I am not going to die without my cable TV. I want it to be working properly, but it is nothing that I cannot live without.
I shared her with her the story that I often share about a man who goes to work via the toll road early in the morning every day. One particular morning he saw this woman in the toll booth. She looked like she was crazy with her arms flailing around, and it looked almost as if she was dancing. Dancing? Inside that small toll booth? So, the next day he went through the toll booth and noticed the same thing. Then, the next. And, the next. Finally, after seeing this woman enough times, he got up a little earlier than normal so there would be less traffic on the road. He let the flow of traffic that go ahead of him so there was no one behind him when he stopped at this particular woman’s toll booth.
“I have got to ask you,” He asked, quite emphatically, “What are you doing every morning?”
She looked around and pointed to the adjacent toll booths and explained that she was visualizing each one of them as other people. They were all at a party, and she was dancing. This was her party, and she looked at him when she said, “if you don’t like it, you’re not invited.”
It mattered not that she had to work early in the morning every day. She saw this as an opportunity to make the most out of her job. She was going to be happy in a situation where most would find excruciatingly boring. This woman though made the best of her situation. If she is there working for 8 hours a day, why not have fun doing it?
I also shared that making the most out of any situation is a matter of perception. There are those I have personally met who have endured the most, more than anyone could even imagine, and so often they are the ones who complain the least. In fact, some are the most grateful and appreciative for life’s myriad of complexities.
“Wow, that’s right?” She interjected. “There are those I know too that have gone through so much and yet complain so little while others literally find things to complain about.”
We got back to her specific job, and I expressed my feeling that if I did have something that was bothering me it is not her doing. She does not need to suffer simply because I am suffering. She has a job to do just like the rest of us. And If I respect her, then more than likely she will respect me too.
She went on to ask me if I am one of those “people who go and talk positive stuff to others and you know talk to people.” Then, the title escaped her at that moment.
“Do you mean an inspirational speaker?” I inquired.
“That is it.” I laughed and told her I do speak. I also thanked her for thinking so highly of me.
She nicely said, “We need more positive people. That is something we all need. Here at my job there are so many who get so frustrated. It is good to have those reminders.”
In between our dialogue, she did resolve my issue. More importantly, we made a connection. She went away feeling better about herself, and so did I.
This evening, far removed from the conversation I had to start the day, I began evaluating my level of personal progress wondering if I got very much accomplished. That is when I began to reflect. That is how I got from there to here.
Now that I am here my perception has changed. What I accomplished today is reflective upon her last comment before we hung up the phone when she stated to me, “You are the kindest person I have talked to today. Thank you for that.”
We may not realize the impact we have on someone else’s day. We may not notice when someone is watching. We can make a difference. Often times without even knowing.