All of us have been on the both the giving and receiving end of service.
All of us have been the awful human upset with the waitress for getting the order wrong, or the person that spoke down to the nurse in the Emergency Room because we had to wait for three hours to be seen.
How many of us have been the person that was polite to the person that completely screwed everything up?
I have absolutely been on both sides of this conversation. I know what it feels like to be shouted at for something that I have no control over, however am still held as the responsible party.
I have been the person that shouted at someone for something that they couldn’t control, but I expected them to fix it anyway.
We are all such hypocrites all the time.
We expect other people to take care of things that truly fall onto our own shoulders. If your bill wasn’t deducted from the right account, it’s not the fault of the bank or the service - it’s yours for not specifying the right account. If you didn’t get the right order during dinner, it’s possible that the waitress made a mistake, but is it also possible that you are at fault for not specifying something? When you do end up with the wrong order, do you politely tell someone that you had ordered something else, or shout at them for being incompetent?
Every interaction we have is a choice - to be kind and compassionate or to be hateful and entitled.
I have been given many opportunities to be on the service side in so many different ways.
As administration for a gymnastics program, I’ve experienced an array of people with the same circumstances, but vastly different ways of approaching the situation. I’ve met parents that spoke to me with respect and kindness, knowing that the saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is aptly appropriate in the service industry. For those parents, I would fix the problem, and then attempt to find ways to further brighten their day, all with the sincerest of smiles. For others that spoke to me with hatred and condescension, their problems were met with a solution and a way to bring them to a happier place, but I was not always as pressing with pleasantries. I was successful in this with many, but not with all.
The short point to this is - Be kind.
Be kind to the person at the bank processing your withdrawal when it takes longer than you could spare, to the waitstaff at the restaurant when your order is wrong, to the person on the other end of the customer service line who doesn’t know your entire situation the second that you come on the line, to the nurse in the emergency room trying to take your blood pressure. These service people mean no harm and their only purpose in that moment is to serve you. To assist you with whatever it is that you need.
Why not be polite so they are in a headspace to help with everything? Why not give them time to answer your questions appropriately? No-one likes to be badgered on or off the clock about anything.
Be polite when you don’t feel like it, and you just might end up with a happier outcome.
Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash