High-volume customer service – The 15 second relationship

The majority of my career has involved some level of customer service. Some has been intensive, long-term case management, where you have the opportunity to develop working relationships with customer over a period of time.

Currently, my customer service exposure is high-volume. A normal shift will involve interactions with 100’s of people. The trick in high-volume is to provide value to the customer, while still being efficient. My view is that each interaction with a customer is a relationship and you have 5-15 seconds to maximise the experience.

Following are some tips that work well for me in terms of customer involvement and the business objective:

Smile – It amazes me how many people in customer service fail to smile. They work efficiently without expression. The service is provided but fails to engage the customer. In high-volume customer service, you only have one chance to make an impression. A smile is so simple and if you really enjoy customer service like I do, it is genuine and comes easy.

Greet the customer – Again, such a simple thing. Just say ‘Hello’, ‘Good morning sir’, ‘Hi’, or even ‘Gidday’. Accompany a greeting with a smile and the customer will usually respond in kind.

Provide value – Even if you are dealing with a large volume of customers, you can still provide additional value. For example, I am often asked for directions for a particular train. I could respond quickly and just say ‘Platform 9’. I have done my job but it takes me possibly 5 seconds more to quickly turn to check the monitors and say ‘Platform 9, Springfield Train in 5 minutes’. Little things make a big difference.

Become knowledgable – In line with the previous point, having knowledge of your business is very important. In my case, what trains are on what line, what stations are on what line, where is the lost property office, where are the toilets, where the taxi rank is; etc. All simple things but important so you can move traffic through quickly while still being informative.

Develop short scripts – I don’t sit down and write out scripts for each situation but I take notice of what responses are effective with customers with respect to being clear, concise and achieve a positive customer response. A quick example would be directions to a platform. Instead of saying ‘Platform 9 up the end’ (which admittedly, I have said), I say ‘Platform 9, 3rd stairs on your left’. The customer walks away confidently instead of looking back at me with blank eyes.

Close the transaction quickly – For a lot of regular commuters, efficiency is key. I still apply the engagement techniques but I retain efficiency. Some customers are oblivious to how busy it is and are inclined to stop in chat. This is fine during quiet periods but not when there are 20 people in a queue. My goal is to engage the customer and move them on in a courteous way. Scripting plays a part here. Using the previous example, I will say ‘Platform 9, 3rd stairs on your left. Thank you, have a good day’. This sums up the interaction in a pleasant way and allows me to divert my attention to the next customer without being rude.

No jokes – Unless I am comfortable with a customer, I don’t consider that jokes, more like clever quips actually, play a part in high-volume customer service. A lot of my colleagues rely on amusing comments. I find these unnecessary and don’t add value to the customer experience. I’m not particularly funny anyway, so I don’t want to force something and be disingenuous.

Don’t do it unless you love it – In terms of work, customer service is my passion. I do it because I genuinely enjoy it. The more customers I can serve and get positive feedback, the better my day is. Sadly, I see many, many colleagues performing the job without passion. They are either transitioning between jobs or stuck in the role so long they no longer enjoy it. My view is, if you no longer enjoy a job, move on. You are doing yourself, the customer and the business a favour.

Look professional and smell nice – This applies to any customer service role. How you present yourself is a reflection of the business. I consider it also a demonstration of your respect for your customer. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Be clean shaven or at least have facial hair neat. Shoes should be clean. Brush teeth/ Wear deodorant! I recall a podcast from How I Built This.  1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudmore In this episode, Brian stated that a priority was for his staff to be neatly presented. This is a role where they will be carting away rubbish and will get dirty. Brian still recognised the importance of how the customer perceives someone who looks presentable, versus someone that turns up in dirty overalls and smells like a goat.

These are my thoughts on what works for me with high-volume customer service. In some ways, I’m not the most confident person and understate my ability. Customer service is not something that can be easily measured as but when you’re good at something, you know.

Advertisements

‘When the learning curve expires’

I was listening to the latest podcast from How I Built This How I Built ThisWeWork: Miguel McKelvey

In this episode, Guy interviews Miguel McKelvey, one of the founders of WeWork, a company that provides shared workspaces for freelancers and startups.

Miguel was discussing a previous job he held with an architectural firm. When asked what prompted him to leave his response included ‘when the learning curve expires’. The phrase stayed with me. It perfectly describes my career for the last decade. When I achieve a point when I can no longer learn or make improvements to the role, I move on.

This was not always the case. From the age of 25, I spent the next 17 years within varying but very similar roles within government. The only real difference in the roles was the level of responsibility and staff managed. Occasional adjustments were required over the years with new managers and legislative changes but realistically, I consider my ‘learning curve’ expired in the first 5 years of employment.

At that time though, I lacked the drive and confidence in my ability to move on to new things. I walked through each day in a cruise and spent more time developing social networks than anything else. I was stale but it was only through hindsight that I realised this.

I’ve worked with countless people who have reached their own ‘learning curve’ expiration but have failed to progress further. In fact, I find that many people actually go backwards in their skill levels. I equate this to exercising at the same level day after day, year after year. The body adapts and rather than improve, it starts to decline. You have to keep progressing to make change.

The point I take from Miguel’s comment is that when you have reached your maximum capacity in a role and the role is no longer challenging, it is time to change. This may mean a career change, finding ways to improve the functionality of the role or seeking learning opportunities to increase your potential for advancement.

Whatever you do, don’t stagnate. This is where you become less capable to adapt to change and limit your options.

Always be investing

I’m often asked on financial documents whether I own any investment properties. I hesitate slightly as I always want to include my own home.

When purchasing a home, my first concern is buying something that I like but secondly the potential for growth or value improvement or both. I don’t go in with the intention of selling after a certain period of time but I do consider any equity I accrue as money that I can use for my retirement or for other investments.

I apply a different perspective when buying a car but still with the view of not wasting my money. Other than specialised vehicles, cars depreciate as soon as you buy them. Additionally, the running costs, registration and insurance really add up every year. They really are a poor investment. I would prefer to have a car that is affordable and reliable rather than a status seeking item. There have been periods where I have not had a car at all when I had public transport on my doorstep.

Investment is not limited to financially matters but also for personal development. As I blogged previously in Motivational and inspirational podcasts, I prefer to utilise my driving time to listen to financial and business podcasts that add value to my day. Sadly,,,pathetically maybe…the only music I enjoy is dancy pop music. For a guy in his early 50’s, pulling up at the lights blasting the latest Bieber is a little awkward.

I love TV but rarely get into serial shows or sitcoms. I enjoyed the first season of Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead but I quickly got bored. However, I could watch countless reality programs on real estate, home improvement, DIY and cooking. To me, while still being entertaining, they are educational and an investment in my knowledge. I might learn something that I can used to make money or a new hobby. Watching endless hours of sports and standard TV programming takes up time and is fun but not particularly beneficial.

Admittedly, my investment mindset is only a recent thing. Over the years, I have no doubt thrown away tens of thousands of dollars through poor purchases and excessive entertainment (i.e. partying). For sure, I have accumulated some great memories but there is no question that had I started to invest in value adding purchases and personal development from an early age, I would be in a very desirable position now. I could still have had some awesome nights out and travelled but I could reduce them easy by 50% and still be doing well.

IMG_3755

While reality TV programming and podcasts and relatively new, I could have spent a lot more time reading. Though I prefer non-fiction business and self-development books, even fiction has value as an investment in your education. My English language was (is still?) appalling when I left school. I didn’t enjoy formal education and I still have little understanding of nouns, pronouns, verbs and punctuation. However, through reading I have developed a fair appreciation of sentence structure and how to write. I will note that other than forced reading at school, I didn’t read a book until I was in my 30’s. Over a decade that I could have utilised to invest in learning.

Another aspect of investment is in your health. I was fortunate to find a love of working IMG_3754out and eating healthy at an early age. Unfortunately, I also found a love for drinking. I’m thankful I found the first as it balanced the drinking to a degree. In saying that, I have some health issues now that perhaps I could have avoided with a healthier lifestyle. Others have overindulged their whole life. Like financial investment, it’s a lot harder to start at a later age and get results. Start early with a healthy lifestyle for immediate and longer-term benefits.

My first property purchase wasn’t until the age of 40. Again, a very late starter. I have probably paid off a full mortgage in rental payments. If I had some foresight and put a little money into buying even a small unit or block of land and continued to invest money made, I would be on easy street now rather than fighting to find a way to an early retirement.

The point of my blog is not to illustrate my appalling earlier life choices but rather to show that there are opportunities to invest all around. I wish I could have realised it earlier in my life but there is no point looking back with regret. As my favourite saying goes ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now’. Whatever your age and whatever your situation, it’s always the right time to start investing.

Buying property – Thank you messy tenants!

I’ve been off-line for a few days as I have been spending the majority of my spare time looking at investment properties.

I’m currently looking at the lower-end of the market with positive returns on investment. Associated with the areas I’m looking, the demographic of renters are not high income earners. Though I’m stereotyping, this can often mean that the tenants can be untidy and have poor quality furnishings.

I’ve bought and sold a fair bit of property during my life. Both personally and during my time as a real estate agent. A common factor has been that the clean and nicely presented property will sell more quickly and for more money. The unkempt property will stay on the market for ages and generally will get weak offers. Vendors start to get desperate and a bad return.

To me, I love it when I walk in and see that the tenant is a grub. I look past the mess and work out the potential of the place and what money I need to put into it.

  • Dirty carpets. Do they need a clean or full replacement. Steam clean doesn’t cost much but replacement does. Adjust your offer accordingly but always double the value of your investment.
  • Messy kitchen. Look past the stale pizza and masses of plates. Are the cabinets in good order. Are the bench tops stained or chipped. The worse it looks without actual damage, the better. Even if damaged, have an idea of what the repairs will cost and calculate into your offer.
  • Bathroom. Dirty grout, filthy toilet. Awesome! My offer continues to drop $1000’s but in reality, it might only be a couple of hundred bucks to clean it up.
  • Horrible gardens. Depends on the property. A large block and it might be cost prohibitive to clean up. A townhouse, a mow and a weekend gardening will make a big difference.
  • Internal walls with dints, chips, murals or whatever. Unless there is structural damage, no big deal. Some areas might just need filling and paint. Other areas might need some plastering. A tradie might be required, which will be costly but a lot can be done with DIY. Double your estimate and deduct from your offer.
  • Cigarette smell. One of my favourites. The smell can be very off-putting to some buyers, which only makes it better for me to buy low. It may take a while to air out but it could save me thousands!


There are a heap of opportunities for discounting. In reality, getting rid of the tenants and investing $1000 in a professional clean and some garden clean up and the property will look massively better. Not everyone sees that though and are put off immediately by the appearance. I just see dollars I can save.

Once I clean up the property, I have it re-valued. I have always added value. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Use the extra equity to look into reinvesting to more property. I know zero about the stock market but have been fortunate with property. I prefer to stick with something I know then opportunities that I’m unsure about.

Anyway, I have a savagely low-ball offer in at the moment. If it doesn’t play out, I will move onto the next place that looks terrible and try again.

Do what you love. Not always a good thing.

One of the constants in my adult life has been going to the gym. At a minimum I attend the gym 4 days a week and have done so for 30+ years. It has become such an important part of my life that when I move house, I make sure I buy near a gym. I love how I feel after a workout, I love the noise of clanking weights, I love the feel of iron in my hands, I love challenging my body, I even love the smell of the gym. I just love going to the gym.

In my early 40’s, I was having a bit of a career crisis. I was really going through tIMG_3741he motions in my job. The only job satisfaction I had was when my pay went into my account. I needed a change.

I came across an advertisement promoting a fitness trainer course. I could undertake the course after my day job and after 6 months I could be a certified Fitness Trainer. I loved going to gym, so surely this would be the perfect career fit for me.

I signed up and started the course with nervous excitement. I loved it. I learned a lot of the more technical aspects of fitness training and physiology in addition to improving my repartre of workout methods. I was also surrounded with like-minded fit and healthy people.

One completion of the course, I very quickly secured a job as a Personal Trainer with a private studio. This was the dream! I would have one-on-one sessions with clients and be involved in changing their bodies and lives.

Though I continued to maintain my full-time work, I was able to train clients before and after work. The studio would allocate me clients, so I immediately had a client base to work with. I utilised my free time to create individualised training programs to meet the goals of my clients. I would also find time to fit in my own workouts along the way. I was busy but having fun!

Move forward 6 months. I was getting up at 4:30AM, train clients, go to my day job, do my own workout at lunch, then go to the studio after work to train clients until 8:30PM. I normally a client or two on Saturday and then had Sunday off. I was tired.

Being tired wasn’t the problem though. The problem was that my clients didn’t love the gym as much as me. Gym was my passion. To them, going to the gym was a chore and only undertaken only because they had to. I would approach each client with enthusiasm and put in all my energy to construct interesting and intense sessions. I would train my clients hard but I was seeing no results.

It became clear that my clients were not training with the same intensity outside of our session…or not training at all. One client attended an afternoon session stinking of alcohol. It seemed every day I would hear more excuses about why they hadn’t been training or couldn’t attend a scheduled session.

As my clients were not demonstrating their commitment to the gym with the same passion as me, I lost the passion to help them. My sessions became little more then recycled, generic workouts. The majority of my clients just wanted to talk, so that’s what I did. If they started to sweat, it was due to the temperature, not the workout.

I stuck with the job for 2 years with the hope that I could somehow develop a reputation as a specialised trainer that could afford to pick and choose their clients. This would never happen though as I was barely making an effort to be a great trainer. As with my day job, I was going through the motions. Though the extra income was great, I decided to leave the job before I lost my own passion for my own training.

Though I posted Saving dollars & cents – Do what you love and..hopefully..money will follow, I don’t necessarily consider that doing what you love is a good thing. If the customer doesn’t share your passion, it can reduce your enthusiasm and it can just become a job.

Do work that is important to you and provides value. If you are emotionally attached to the work though, you risk losing your own love for what you do. Maybe some personal passions should stay that way.

A boss rules. A leader inspires!

 

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

Possibly due to the excessive amount of jobs I have held, I have had more than my share of managers during my career. A fair guess would be 30. Of those 30, I would suggest that maybe only 3 of them were true leaders.

To me, a leader is someone who motivates you to work hard, encourages you to succeed and supports you to make your own decisions.

Probably the most inspiring leader I have had was only recently. This man stood apart almost immediately from all my previous bosses as a leader to follow.
As this man is so humble and some of my comments are relatively personal, I will protect his anonymity and call him Jim.
I had been working for this particular company for around 6 months. I enjoyed the role I had but found the culture depressing. The nature of my work revolved around death but that wasn’t the aspect that made the environment so unpleasant. Many of the staff had ‘existed’ in the business for far too long and were set in their ways. Processes were complicated and convoluted but any suggestion of innovation was quashed immediately. I will call these people ‘Stalwarts’ for the purpose of this post.
Due to the fact that so many of the stalwarts were never going to move, the only opportunity for progression was through their retirement or death. Neither of those options seemed remotely possible in the near future, so it was a trying place to work.
Then along came Jim. For the first two weeks, Jim scheduled appointments with every staff member to discuss their roles. He wanted to know if they enjoyed their work, what issues they had, what they wanted to learn and what they wanted to do. As Jim was new to all of us, I bet I wasn’t the only one that held back a bit as I didn’t want to say something that would later bite me in the butt. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried, he was just demonstrating open communication and a willingness to know each team member.

Jim then ruffled feathers by asking everyone in the business to provide process flows for each of their work actions. As part of this, he asked that everyone highlight areas where there were bottlenecks in a process and provide suggestions how to improve.
The stalwarts were outraged! ‘He doesn’t know the business!!’ was the common cry. That was exactly the point but they didn’t get it. He was a pair of fresh eyes that weren’t jaded by years of doing things the way they were always done. He was looking for people to look outside the box and innovate.
This didn’t sit too well with the stalwarts. They knew what worked and the old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ seemed good enough for them. Times had changed and better techology existed but they were having none of it. If it worked for the last decade, why bother changing it.
Jim persisted. The response was as expected. The stalwarts submitted their responses that indicated everything was running as good as it possibly could. The newer staff did the same but highlighted many process issues that need rectifying.
Jim was making people think for themselves. He wasn’t dictating how things would change, he was empowering people to come together with their job skills and experience to make a better business.
Jim had an uphill battle for sure. This wasn’t an open-minded group culture. The stalwarts found every reason why something couldn’t work. Jim asked them for ways it could work. Jim’s reasoning was that if he found out how something could work, then he would know if it should work. He wasn’t about change for change sake but he did want to know if there were a better way. Things started slowly to change for the better. Systems improved and output improved. I’m sure the stalwarts wouldn’t admit it but change was good.
Jim also encouraged individual development and progression. He welcomed and almost enforced, rotation through various roles to increase staff understanding of the whole business and to improve their opportunity for career progression. As you could imagine, this came with some pushback from the stalwarts, who were stuck in their ways and their jobs.
Jim persisted though. Bit by bit, he continued to change the culture of the business. He fully understood that their were some people who wouldn’t change but he would improve the business for those that were ready for the ride. The place was becoming a better environment to work. I had rotated into a role I didn’t really enjoy but it didn’t matter that much as I was working in a more open and enjoyable work environment.

Jim was the epitome of leading by example. Almost without fail, Jim was there when I arrived at work and when I left for the day. This is despite the numerous difficulties that Jim was experiencing in his life.

  • Jim only had one leg though I didn’t know for several months as he got around so quickly on his prosthetic leg.
  • Jim had cancer. He was undertaking treatment for it and often times was grey and clammy. Yet, he only occasionally took a day off or left early for the day.
  • His father died. Obviously, Jim took a few days off for this but worked on.
  • And lastly, his mother developed Alzheimer’s and had to be moved to a home.

Only the first point didn’t happen in the 6 months I worked with him. He was going through very trying times. But Jim didn’t whine and complain. I only knew about his problems through someone close to him. Jim was not going to use his own problems as an excuse for not doing his job. It certainly made me reconsider having a sickie when I would wake up with a tickle in my throat. I wouldn’t necessarily advocate his work ethic, particularly while ill but it certainly was inspiring.

Probably the most impressive part of Jim’s leadership was his encouragement of people to progress. I have worked for so many managers that subtlety (and not so subtle sometimes) undermined my achievements and bruised my confidence. I think in part this was to confirm their status as the boss but also as a means to retain staff.

Jim was the opposite, he praised every achievement across the business….but only with permission. He made people feel important and an asset to the business. As I said earlier, he rotated people to increase their confidence that they had the capacity to learn and adapt. He was building our confidence to succeed and did his best to support people, even if this meant he may lose staff.

I started to apply for a number of jobs outside the company. Not because I was desperate to get out anymore but because I was instilled with confidence in my ability. I secured my current job very quickly. Jim was very supportive and actually provided a verbal reference to the new business that they should employ me.

On my last day, I met with Jim and expressed my admiration for him and that he motivated me to be a better worker and achieve more. Jim’s reaction surprised me. He started to tear up and the tissues came out. It was an awkward moment but I was pleased the same that he understood someone really appreciated him as a leader.

I still see Jim now and again in my current job. He will be on his way to work very early. I have to start early but he wants to. I know he’s in a rush but he always stops and has a quick chat regardless. Did I mention he is a top guy as well?

If I’m lucky, I might have a leader like Jim again. If not, at least I have learnt some lessons on how to support and encourage people that I will use when mentoring new staff.

 

Be your own normal

For a large part of my life, I tried desperately to be normal. What I mean is that I tried to conform with what the majority of people were doing.

With age and reflection, my past attempts to try to be normal led me down paths that gave me no happiness and were at times, exhausting and destructive.

It was only when I reached my mid 40’s that I realised that for me to normal I had to  follow my natural instincts and do what feels right for me.

I’ll give you an example. I was always under the belief that being socially active was the normal thing to do. Attending morning teas and parties is what everyone else would do, so I followed suit. However, I found that the only way I could attend a function with a large group of people and feel at all comfortable was to drink alcohol. And not just a beer or two but to binge. This obviously is not the healthiest thing to do but probably worse is that I acted completely different to my own personality. I was loud and out-going, where I am generally reserved and reflective. Strangely enough, the loud and out-going me was quite successful with women but needless to say, when they met the real me, it was awkward and things did not progress.

That is just one example of where I have followed a path in the past to be normal and socially accepted. Others have been:

  • Following a safe and secure career path
  • Buying a particular type of car, or car in general
  • Wearing a particular brand of clothes
  • Not taking risks with career or finances

I’m not sure exactly what the trigger was but one day I started to consider that maybe I should put myself first rather than worry what others thought of me. Maybe it was from a discussion I was having with a friend from a previous job. He is very attracted to men, however, he insisted that he wanted to get married to a woman and have children. When I pressed him a little, he responded that it would make his family happy and it was what they did in his culture.

I didn’t argue the point further but it did seem strange that he was doing something to make other people happy and to meet his cultural standards rather than following what was natural to him. Anyway, it made me consider my choices. Was I basing my choices on what was right for me or just to conform.

I realised then and more so since, there are so many 07403197a4f3c8e09d8d5128febdf78fthings that are normal to others but seem abnormal to me. Some that come to mind:

  • The Kardashian’s. While I love reality TV, I cannot see the universal appeal for this family. To me, this family seems to lead a existence without substance. To me this doesn’t serve as entertainment yet their every movement is of social importance.
  • Going to church or following a religion in general. I won’t get into a theological debate on this one. I’m very spiritual and I’m a strong believer in karma but organised religion and praying to a God does not seem logical to me.
  • Buying a ‘forever’ home. I rarely stay in a home for more then 2-3 years. To wake up in the same room for the rest of my life seems depressing.
  • Having children. I don’t particularly like children and don’t feel compelled to have my name carried on.
  • Working for one company your whole career. I actually admire this but it isn’t for me. To my career advancement detriment, I change jobs frequently.

Please, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of the points above. They are simply my opinions and I don’t judge anyone for thinking the opposite. Well, in the case of the Kardashian’s, I pretty much assume you are not right in the head if you like them! What I really mean is, what is right for one person does not mean that it has to be the only way.

Recently, I was in conversation with a colleague at work. He was telling me that on the weekend he had some activities to do with his family. He asked if I was married and had kids and I said no. He asked me then ‘So what do you do then?’. I actually took offence at this comment as I perceived he was judging me and that my life had no value without a wife and kids. This bugged me for a while until it came to me that he didn’t know me, what I had done in my life or what my interests were. His life was not normal for me but I didn’t judge him for choosing it and he shouldn’t have judged me.

To summarise my point in a nutshell, I would say ‘Follow your own path’. Do what feels right for you and makes you happy. I would much prefer to be considered an eccentric that goes by the beat of his own drum than a sheep that follows the herd.

In saying all this, you still have to follow some reasonable societal standards. For instance, regardless if it feels normal or not, you should not purposely break laws just because it feels right. Also, you must be reasonably considerate of others. To swear loudly on a crowded train may feel comfortable for you but would be unpleasant for others and may get you a punch upside the head.

In general though, be your own normal. I definitely feel more calm, content and happy then when I tried to be everyone else.

Buy second-hand clothing to reduce carbon pollution

In principle, this is ideal. Saves money, saves the environment, helps the needy.

If only everyone wasn’t so damn short!! (seriously though, it’s a good thing..do it!)

IMG_1045

Don’t judge a book by its cover

With the primary focus of my current position being high-volume customer service, I inherently have exposure to people of all walks of life.

As the bulk of my previous customer service experience was on the phone, the face to face contact associated with my current role was a new experience.

Admittedly, when I first started in the role, I often times judged a book by its cover. That is, if a person was professionally dressed in a nicely pressed suit, I was likely to treat that customer with more respect and probably, a better quality of service.

On the other hand, if a customer walked up with dishevelled clothing and had scruffy hair and facial hair, I dismissed them immediately and gave curt responses. Hypocritically, outside of work, my general appearance is of someone with barely two cents to rub together. I often use this approach purposely, such as when I’m attending open homes. With the rare exception, I’ve found that real estate agents do not follow-up people who look like a hobo.

With time in the role, my view has changed completely. I have met countless arrogant and abusive customers that are extremely well-presented. At the other end of the spectrum, I have met some of the most delightful people who are legitimately down on their luck.

For example, I had an interaction recently with a young man on a late night shift at the train station. He arrived with dirty clothes and covered with tattoos, including on his face. I struck up a conversation with him as it was quiet time and there were a few minutes before the next train arrived. He surprised me with a softly spoken voice and pleasant demeanour. He explained that he had just finished work labouring and admitted to having limited work options due to his facial tattoos and chequered past.

He went on to say that he had children and was doing his best to provide them with a decent life in the hope they would pursue a better life that he had led to that point. I wished him the best and saw him off on the next train. It was clear this young man was not necessarily a victim of his circumstances but had surely made some poor life choices.

On the other hand, an extremely well-dressed woman arrived on her platform the other day, holding the hand of a young child in a private school uniform. The woman ran up the stairs just as the train departed. This woman launched into a tirade at me for not holding the train for her. Every sentence was punctuated with expletives. I calmly explained that the train had left on schedule and I hadn’t noticed her on the stairs when I sent the train off. Well, I tried to explain anyway, as she cut me off with a ‘Just f**k off!!’ and stormed away. I’m old enough not to be bothered by abuse but I felt for the young child, who looked embarrassed throughout the ‘discussion’.

Probably though, the child will grow up with the same view that treating people with disrespect and aggression is the approach to get things done. I can assure you, I have gone the extra mile for someone who has treated me with respect and is polite. I rarely do so for those that are up in my face demanding action….and probably attention.

Let’s be honest, some people are just horrible, regardless of their appearance. A suit doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will be a total arrogant prick. Neither does being poor make you extra gracious and thankful for help. A deIMG_3727adsh**t is a deadsh**t, however you dress them up.

Basically, my point is that stereotyping people on the appearance is not a good approach. A person should be judged on their actions and behaviour, not because they can’t or can afford to drive a nice car or live in a fancy house. I have lived in rich suburbs and poor suburbs and overall, people are just people. One just has a fatter wallet.

I now approach every customer with the same friendly manner. I thrive on the positive customer experiences and let the negative ones slide off my back. I suggest you do the same.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a video from Australia’s X-Factor. A woman named Dami Im arrived on stage. From the video, it’s clear that the crowd and the judges made the assumption she would be hopeless by the way she looked. Not only did she blow everyone away with her audition, she won the title! I won’t lie, I always get tears watching it.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: