I’ve been taking careful note of my “I’s” – or the parts of my personality that are present in different circumstances, following several years of selecting specific “I’s” for various situations. For example, if I’m coaching a client on a one-on-one basis I select attentive-I, concerned-I, listening-I and when I’m working with a large group I’ll choose presenter-I, communicator-I and so on. Right now I’ve engaged writer-I, thoughtful-I, and quiet-I too, and later I’ll select editor-I to hone this blog into something critical-I will accept.
I mention this as I’ve also been noticing which of my I’s are activated when I receive good and bad service. Last night a taxi booked for 7.15 turned up 15 minutes late despite a phone call at 7.10 to say he would be arriving imminently. The driver then proceeded to lie saying he’d been waiting outside (he didn’t know we had been standing on the pavement from 7.15 until 7.25 when we returned indoors to call the company). He reversed down our street onto a busy road causing a car to swerve, then took a ridiculous route and when I asked him to make a U-turn and follow my directions his reply “I know my job and this is the best way” caused irritable-I to be replaced by angry-I along with stingy-I as he certainly wasn’t getting a tip! I’ve noticed that at the very first moment of receiving poor service several quite negative-I’s are activated that in turn cause the issue to be compounded. By contrast, when receiving good service, a dozen positive I’s come to the fore that then amplify the experience. In other words, from the first good or poor impression I’m actually determining the sense to which I regard the service I’m being given as good or poor. First impressions have always counted, this is universally accepted, what I now realise is how much they alter the state to such a significant degree.
When observing good service I can palpably feel the effort being initially exerted which then can be relaxed as the recipient, or their positive-I’s, takes over. The key, I think, is to be able to activate the group of I’s that together make up “excellent-first-impression-I” such as friendly-I, approachable-I, carefully-observing-I and above all listening-I. Almost without exception, I notice listening-I to be present when I receive or observe great service. And it’s listening-to-really-understand-I rather than partly-listening-I that’s engaged.
So I offer you this very simple idea – if you want to improve your customer service all you have to do is select “listening-to-really-understand-I” and then your customer will do the rest for you. Question – do you know how to activate “listening-to-really-understand-I” and what it looks and feels like?