The Sofia Rule Is Harder Than It Looks

I thought Jenny’s post on The Sofia Rule yesterday was absolutely fantastic.  It is a great piece of advice to picture cute little Sofia at moments you feel inclined to speak negatively to yourself or a customer.  That will get you to change your tone right?

Sometimes kids aren't all fun and games.

Sometimes kids aren’t all fun and games.

You didn’t think I’d let Jenny get by unscathed did you?  As a father, it’s my obligation to 1-up her with an insanely cute picture of one of my own kids.  I love this picture for a lot of reasons.  Don’t hate me when I say that I was laughing on the other side of the camera.  This perfectly illustrates my point that The Sofia Rule is more difficult than it looks.  Before you accuse me of crushing the spirit of my friend and co-blogger, hear me out.

In this picture, my son was clearly angry about something and resorted to kicking and screaming to get his way.  The funny thing is, grown-up customers do this too.

When my kids are happy, content and well-behaved I would buy them the universe if I could.  It’s the best thing on earth.  Inevitably, there are times where they are tired or hungry or simply not getting their way.  In those moments they look more like this and it’s a heck of a lot more difficult to use nice words.

Does that mean we berate our customers in these moments?  By no means!  That is however, often the easy, more natural thing to do.  Here are a couple reasons why you don’t do that:

  1. Berating customers just makes things worse.  You don’t always have to give in but erring on the side of reason and patience is much better.  Like a child, your customer might be wrong but arguing is not going to get you to a point where there is learning and growth.
  2. Always keep the customer’s potential in mind.  Remember always that happy, healthy and heard customers are loyal customers.  Restoring your customer to that point is the key.

All of this to say that Jenny is right on with the Sofia Rule.  Just remember that sometimes your customers will look more like my son which requires you to dig down deep inside of yourself and choose to see a much happier picture in your head.  Hold on to that image of what CAN be and respond based on that.

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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.

One comment

  • HAHA Great point, Jeremy!

    This does throw quite a spin on The Sofia Rule…and most customers are going to be this way. It’s humorous how we turn into grumpy little kids sometimes when things don’t go our way.

    Thanks for one upping me–was absolutely necessary!

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