Monday Motivation: Assume The Best

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I take a lot of pride in my musical abilities–maybe a little too much pride at times.  Several months ago, a friend asked me to play in a band with him.  He came back later and asked if I’d be willing to play banjo.  While I enjoy banjo, guitar is my primary instrument and what I’m best at.

I had a field day in my mind about this, asking myself questions like:

What, am I not good enough on guitar?

Is someone better than me going to play guitar instead?

Am I being demoted?

The list goes on and on.  I ended up asking my friend what he meant by asking me to play banjo and he said “I really like it when you play banjo and think it will add a lot to our sound.”

Punch me in the stomach.  Just when I was caught in this pattern of assuming the worst, my friend delivered me a compliment.  I felt like such a goat.

As customer service professionals, how often do we read into the things our customers or colleagues say and assume the worst?  It’s so easy to assume they are trying to take advantage of us, or they are complaining about something silly, or that they are idiots (pardon my French).  This becomes all the more easy when we view ourselves as experts.

What if we instead strive to assume the best in others?  Maybe a customer doesn’t understand our system.  More times than not, they are ready and willing to be taught.  Perhaps a customer is having trouble paying their bill.  Giving them a few extra days might just build a bond of trust with that customer and cause them to tell ten people about the customer service team that saved the day.

Do you see what I’m getting at?  When we assume the best in others, we are choosing to believe there’s a reasonable explanation for their situation.  This puts us in the best possible mindset to respond well to their issue and serve them to the best of our ability.  Try assuming the best about others and let me know how it works out for you.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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