How Do You Handle a Bad Situation in a Public Place?
I may have mentioned (a time or two) that I believe in being nice. Making an effort to consider another's feelings. Especially in a work environment, where so many employees are made miserable by someone's thoughtlessness. Or a customer is not given top treatment by the salesperson.
In a previous hub, I focused on being nice to workers when you're the customer. I like to make people smile, especially if I can tell they've had a rough day.
Just like Mutual Respect, it's a Two-Way Street
Today, I'm looking at the other side of the coin. I know this gets overemphasized, and more often than not, the employee gets blamed. Not going to beat that particular dead horse.
But what do you do when you're legitimately not happy with the service? There are many circumstances, and even more mitigating factors that make every situation unique. Is there always a way to handle it nicely? No. I wish there was. But some people just can't be reached with niceness, and there are times you have to stand up for yourself.
Share Your Advice and Experiences, Please
What I'd like to do here is start a dialogue. If you're reading this, and you've had to deal with a bad situation, how did you handle it? Were you able to keep it friendly, and if so, how? It's been on my mind because of something that happened to me last weekend. Let me start the ball rolling, but please, I'd love to hear from you. There's never a set answer that works every time, but I'd enjoy hearing your stories and advice on how to handle tough situations.
When is a Salesman NOT a Salesman?
As I mentioned, this happened last weekend. I needed to buy a replacement blade for our lawn mower, and I needed advice on how to fix it. Especially in terms of what kind of tool I would need, because I'm not very good at fixing things unless it's computer related. In the store, there was one salesman in the department. He was busy helping someone else, and I patiently waited for him to finish. And waited some more. And more. Then I waited some more. While waiting, I realized he was in a talkative mood, sharing much of his life and thoughts with his customer, while she listened.
He wasn't doing his job, which meant customers (me!) didn't get what they needed, and his employer wasn't getting what they were paying him for.
Good for him... but this was the wrong venue
Even nice guys get tired of waiting. I went to a different department, got in a sales line, and when it was my turn, got the help I needed. After we were done, (he sold me the blade, and a very nice little ratchet set) I asked my sales rep to pass a message to Peter (the talkative guy) for me.
He said he'd be glad to.
So I told him I was really glad Peter had quit playing around with three women at once, and grown up. I'm happy he's found the one woman that's right for him, and that he's trying to raise her teenaged boy the right way. I know teens can be a trial, and it's a wonderful thing that he's teaching the young man how to handle finances and be responsible. It's great that he's turned his life around so well, and has become so happy. I also completely agree with his opinion of our current president. He's absolutely right, and has really thought deeply about it. And it's very important that he's had his faith renewed...
But, I said, while I was standing there learning all that, I was really hoping for some help, and I'm disappointed that I didn't get helped.
Why not just complain to management?
Well, my salesman just about fell over laughing, and said he'd be sure to pass the message along. When I told Monique what I'd done, she wanted to know why I hadn't just complained to management.
It was because I was trying to be nice. If I complain, he might get in trouble, and it really did sound like he's found happiness after a life full of turmoil. I didn't want to ruin that for him, or give him bad marks on his work file. By telling a funny story, I make my point, get people to laugh, and hopefully do no harm. And maybe, in a gentle and positive fashion, help him re-focus on his work.
The Infamous Ratchet Set
Maybe it worked
I've got no idea if it worked or not. But at least I tried.
One last addendum to the story: The next morning, I opened up my brand new ratchet set to fix the lawn mower blade... and there was no handle in the set. All the little pieces were there, but no handle. So I went back to the store, and saw both of my salesmen. They both smiled when they saw me, but only asked if I needed anything else.
So I said "Yes, I bought this ratchet set last night..." (and here I held the open case where everybody could see it)... "and I'm just here to pick up the rest of the set."
On the plus side, I got very good and very fast service, with lots of smiles. Maybe it worked after all.