Monday, June 11

Principle the First

How to win friends and influence people
Principle 1: Don't criticise, condemn or complain.
‘Instead of condemning people try to figure out why they do what they do. It's more profitable than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”’

This was surprisingly easy. The rule only applies (or so it seems) to criticising people directly, rather than, say, under your breath like a deranged psychopath. And as I’m a master at the latter option the former is largely superfluous.

For example, I’ve been following Principle 1 at work for as long as I can remember, way before I even knew it existed. When customers annoy me, which usually happens every third call or so, I hang up before criticising them rather than curse a blue streak at them dawn the phone.

Call me old fashioned if you will, but I imagine telling a customer they’re ‘a stupid, senile old biddy who wouldn't know a good insurance deal if it hit them in the face with a wet paving slab,’ would get me fired. And so I say lovely uplifting to the customer instead, then grind my headset into my desk after they hang up.

What do you know? I'm more of a people person than I thought…
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Anonymous said...

At least you're not like a few stories of call centres I've had... I used to be a telecom manager when I worked in the concrete jungle, and I could tell you tales of call centre reps who forgot to disconnect before making a colourful comment, and of course, as the line was still live, it was all captured in stereo on tape. Even better was a new system we installed, and I had to drop in to monitor once in a while to check the line quality, and I heard a call that made me turn red with embarrassment... and it was on tape... and I hit my call supervisor button, so when he hung up, he would immediately be connected to my phone. I reminded him to use a phone in a conference room next time, and I would blow away the call on the tape system. But, he would have done well on his review if they had a section for that kind of call :-)

I still think my favourites were the call centre folks who used to eat at their desks, and they'd get food stuck in the headset tube, and the one who dunked it in her coffee to rinse out the jam and butter. Good thing I used to keep a lot of spare parts on hand!

But, you know what many management types forget... criticize in private, praise in public. The staff know it, but managers regularly forget.

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