05 Oct Nobody likes working with or for a Jerk!
By Mike Gambino
This article is not about any particular episode or client. I am fortunate to have great clients for the most part and very thankful for that. In fact it’s been quite awhile since one of these types of calls has ruined my day. That being said I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have been on the receiving end of a few verbal tongue lashings in the past that I’d rather forget about.
When a service provider loses his cool, raises his voice and ugly words are said that should not have been said that unfortunate incident is considered unprofessional. When a client goes off screaming like a lunatic for what is seemingly a small issue or without logic or reason he is called a jerk !
You walk into your office after a long day working in the field, ready to relax and wind down from the long day, and just as you’re settling in to do some work on the computer, the phone rings. It’s a client on the other end of the line, and because landscape lighting is not always a perfect science, something isn’t working right. The client yells and screams at you, demanding that someone be there RIGHT NOW!
In an alternate possibility, the same client calls. He explains that up until last night, their system was working perfectly. However, at some point, the timer stopped controlling the system for some reason and the lights didn’t come on as scheduled. He asks if there is anything that can be done, or if you might be able to walk him through some troubleshooting steps over the phone.
Ask yourself: Who would you be willing to go the extra mile for?
That’s an easy answer, right?
Now, reverse roles; think about when you are on the other side of that call.
“Is that the way you want people to call you?”
“Would you want to come in from work and have that be the first message you receive?”
“Do you really think that is going to make you want to call him back?”
And it’s right. The client was being a jerk. (And I know a thing or two about being a jerk, and I can say I have been wrong on occasion, lost my cool and regretted it) Sure, he was infuriated that his lights didn’t come on. I always promptly return my calls and return to do follow-up maintenance or service/repair work without fail. In fact it gets top priority in my work schedule. All he was going to do by being hostile was to damage our relationship.
And when I thought about how I feel – how I react – when people come at me all wrong on the phone, it made me realize how much more gets accomplished by being nice. Well, at least by starting out being nice. Or at least civil. Give the person on the other end of the call the opportunity to resolve your issue before you lay into them.
Being a jerk might get you on the schedule. It might even get the problem resolved in a slightly faster manner.
The first time.
Because if you alienate the people that you want – or in many cases *need* — to help you by being overly hostile and jerk-like on the phone, then it will only be detrimental to you in the long run. And I can assure you that if I hang up the phone with an exasperated, “What a jerk!” that sentiment is going to travel through the entire company and you are not going to get the best service possible.
You won’t be the one that gets called when a cancellation opens up on the schedule. And you won’t receive the extra attention when service people are at your home.
The next time you are about to lay into someone on the phone, pause. Take a deep breath. And ask yourself, “If the person on the other end were having this same problem and calling me, how would I want them to act?” Taking a similar path will likely serve you better.
What a much nicer day then everyone screaming at each other, don’t you think?
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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