The support I see #2 – Kindness

“I was in the middle of one of the biggest emergencies I have had at work and the internet phone company left me on hold for 25 minutes and then cut me off.”

Support teams come in for a lot of flack. Ask someone about their interaction with a support line and oftentimes I am hit with a variation of the sentence at the top of the page or one of the following:

“The support person on southern rail Twitter just didn’t care” (Note, I think the people on this support feed have one of the hardest jobs in the world, they are the face of the train company that always runs late – look at the hate they get!)

“I try wherever possible not to speak to support, they just don’t understand what I’m trying to do”

“Calling a support line just to feel like they are enjoying lording it over me because I don’t understand is not my idea of fun”

We’ve likely all experienced bad service or support, but it makes good support all the more noticeable and glorious.

“The simplest acts of kindness are far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” Ghandi

In the last post I spoke about being passionate about customers success, this post is about being kind to customers.

The benefit for you

Today I have been experimenting with honouring people, thinking kindly about everyone. I work in a city and people are busy and are accidentally (I choose to believe…) rude. As I walked through the doors of a coffee shop today a guy in the queue scowled at the waitress when she asked him a question, when then asked for the money he held the money in between his index and middle finger and threw the money down on the counter.

I know.

He was gone before I could understand what happened. I was annoyed at how rude he was, throwing money isn’t really ever right, unless it’s over a fence to someone who needs it. Or if it’s folded in the shape of a paper aeroplane. Then it’s fine.

I heard a talk about honouring people the other day. The talk went through different types of personalities, what can be great about them and what can be difficult and how to honour them in how you think and speak about them.

I decided I would choose to think kindly about this man. I decided to think about how committed he was to his work to be in his work clothes and in the queue for coffee at 7:30am. I decided to celebrate that he was getting his coffee to get his mind in the best shape to start his day.

It could have all been nonsense, but it changed how I felt. My day did not start on irritation, it started on a win. The day has been a good one and I’m still in a good mood.

Support teams should always start by choosing to be kind and to think well of all customers. They haven’t given the right information? Celebrate the fact that they know they can reach out to you to get help. They are being rude? Celebrate the fact that you have an opportunity to make their day a little bit better by helping to remove the problem that is blocking them.

Tony Robbins talks about “Changing your expectation for gratitude” as a key of a happy life, focussing on what you do have rather than what you want. The customer support version may be “Drop irritation and find a reason to celebrate them”.

You don’t need to carry around irritation about situations, no one wants to carry that through their day. The benefit for you is a lightness, a positive feeling and knowing you helped someone. All wonderful things.

The benefit for them

Can you remember a kindness that someone did for you? I can.

I remember the first kindness I was aware of. I was 7 and was 15 pence short on a comic and some sweets I wanted from the newsagent. The owner’s son said it didn’t matter and let me go without paying it. I still remember that kindness to this day.

Kindness changes everything. People contact support because they need to know something, because they need a roadblock removed. It is a vulnerable place to be, a combo of asking a stranger for help and not knowing something – feelings not many people like.

To be met with a genuine smile (Physical or digital) and kindness changes the dynamic not only of the support case, but potentially of that person’s day. I wrote about passionately desiring customers success in the last post, this kindness is just an extension of that. You not only influence that issue but potentially that day. The impact has the potential to be huge.

“You’re all so kind”

The second principle of great support is kindness. There isn’t enough kindness in the wider world, let alone in support. You don’t know what things have happened during the day of the person you are speaking to, but you are now a part of those events. Be kind, I think you’ll like the results.

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