Be Nice

Lately, I’ve noticed that when I call customer service—whether about insurance claims, to straighten out a bill, or ask for assistance with my new cell phone—the representative often sounds harried when they pick up the phone. I’ve no doubt that, in this culture of impatience and nastiness, they get a lot of people who are angry or who don’t know how to communicate, so resort to anger. By the time I reach this human being, after going through the company’s phone tree and finding numerous dead-ends, I’m often angry too.

I have to remind myself that it’s not the fault of the service person and that they are probably just as stressed as I am by being the last resort for customers frustrated at having a hard time finding someone to help them. So I try my best to be civil, even nice, thanking them for helping me and exchanging pleasantries (how’s the weather there?). Gradually I can hear the rep’s voice change, become softer and more relaxed. By the time we conclude our transaction, we’re both wishing each other a nice day.

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