If you’re an independently minded woman like me (and Martha Karua), it can be hard to ask others for help when you transition into what you truly want to do. Often we feel like we don’t deserve it, it’s too much to ask or we hate the idea of depending on others for our progress
Sometimes swallowing your pride and staying silent in the face of a difficult person is the best thing for your company and your peace of mind.
It’s human nature to be proud of what you’ve achieved. So when you launch a new product you spent weeks working 22 hours a day on, making sure every detail is perfect, don’t get angry or frustrated if a customer complains it’s not the best solution ever. The customer doesn’t know how hard you worked, and they don’t care. Their only concern is hearing how what you have to offer can affect their lives for the better.
Swallowing your pride is not an easy thing to do. The first response to a negative comment is generally to defend your work. Never do this with a customer. Bite your tongue. Breathe a bit. Then, smile and thank them for their feedback. With all the Internet blogs, review sites, and social media options, an angry customer has way too many ways to hurt you and your business for you to be engaging them in a shouting match.
Not all lessons have to be learned the hard way. In fact, when it comes to customer service, it’s best to let your team learn from the pitfalls of people who did the job before them. The customer might not always be right, but it is always the responsibility of the customer service agent to handle every interaction with grace, tact and sometimes an abundance of patience.
Take the example of one bartender at a golf course bar in Nairobi who recalls finishing up his cleanup duties at 7:30 pm following closing at 7pm. Suddenly, a customer shows up asking, “Are you open?” Since this members-only club is brimming with regulars, the bartender replied, “No, sir. We closed about half an hour ago and I’m just finishing the last of my tasks behind the bar.” Suddenly enraged, the customer said, “Well, you should be open for people like me who like to be the last to tee off on the course in the day!” The bartender kept mum and continued with his tasks.
The lesson here? There’s no point arguing with an irrational customer, especially when he very clearly did need that last drink in order to relax. Polite silence is always preferable to arguing and is often the best way to end an angry encounter.
Remember, when you’ve done something wrong, admit it and be sorry. No one in history has ever chocked to death from swallowing their pride.
Better to lose an argument than a customer!