It’s pretty amazing how true self-fulfilling prophecy is. I remember learning the concept in interpersonal communications in college at Michigan State. The concept always made sense to me, but never more so than just the other day, when it truly dawned on me just how fine the line is between being a hero or a villain in any client services business.
We’ve all been on the phone with a frustrating customer service rep, whom we don’t know from Adam, and when he or she doesn’t quite get what we mean or can’t quite help us for whatever BS company line reason, we want to throw our new iPhone at the wall (but we don’t, of course).
Realizing that the person on the other end of the line is likely equally as frustrated with you is hard.
But, of course we know this frustration can occur when in the client services business. I of course run a digital agency and partner with several other agencies to constantly talk to clients, scope out projects, execute against timelines, explain hard-to-fathom concepts, and try my best to distill highly technical issues into nuggets that make business-sense.
When doing so, on a minute-by-minute basis, I realize that I make the conscious choice to be the hero instead of the villain.
It would be so easy to be a jerk, fire off short answers, get frustrated with clients and make them deal with my attitude. In fact, that’s honestly kind of the mental default. It’s scary but true, I have to make a serious effort to be nice and helpful. In other words, be the hero, NOT THE VILLAIN.
This choice is liberating. Getting more bees with honey is not an old concept, but may be one of the harder ones to consistently execute, especially under extreme pressure to help clients launch websites and grow their businesses.
Taking a deep breath before and during meetings, re-reading emails before sending them and thinking – “how would this make me feel?” are extremely important steps.
Ask yourself what the repercussions of an email or a comment may be before spewing it out. If you’re not 100% positive that it won’t come back around to bite you in the ass, don’t send it or say it.
As soon as you feel like your correspondence with your client would actually make them feel happy or likely to recommend you to someone else, then click send or deploy it from your pie hole.
Believe me, I know it’s not easy, but it is worth it.
Trust me. It’s far better to be the hero than the villain. The choice is ALWAYS yours. What will your self-fulfilling prophecy be?