Your Attitude Makes All The Difference
Have you ever wondered why front-line employees in any business with similar jobs and salaries behave significantly differently with their customers? Why are a select few enthusiastic about their jobs and helpful towards their customers, whilst the rest are mostly indifferent and apathetic? Is it their attitude that sets them apart?
Let us look at customer service from another perspective. Most products and services in their own class provide the same features (e.g., international airlines offer travel in similar aircraft, similar seating arrangements, and similar food, beverages, and on-board entertainment). Yet, is it not the attitude of the cabin crew and ground staff that makes the difference between an award winning airline and a mediocre airline?
In a nutshell, the more helpful the customer service agents are, the more satisfied their customers’ feel. In turn, satisfied customers attract other customers (word of mouth), and the process directly contributes to the business entity’s bottom line and long-term success.
So, what is attitude?
In his book, “The Attitude Factor,” Thomas R. Blakeslee describes attitudes as:
Crucially important to happiness because they define the way we react to the world. They can make the difference between pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, even good health and bad. Attitudes are like well-worn paths in the mind that gradually evolve as a result of thousands of little choices we make every day of our lives. They define our experience to such a degree that different people often have opposite reactions to the same thing.
What is your attitude, especially with your customers?
- When you interact with your customers - are you happy, enthusiastic, and passionate? Or are you uninterested, indifferent, and cheerless?
- Have you trained yourself to be enthusiastic at work and to be helpful towards your customers? Or is it that you particularly don’t care?
Your attitude defines how you deal with your customers.
Your attitude is a lens that colors everything you see through it; bright, rosy, black, or blue.
YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE
Happiness is a state of mind. If you focus on the positive things in life, you will be happy, and if you focus on the negative things in life, you will feel depressed and victimized.
Positive states of mind include enthusiasm, contentment, being passionate, creative, zealous, eager, and joyous, etc. They are all ways of choosing to perceive life positively. Happiness and enthusiasm are habitual ways of thinking positively about life.
Positive thinkers stay immersed in positive and meaningful thoughts. They don’t have the time for negative thoughts or paranoia. They see and expect the good side of things. Their positive thoughts give rise to positive feelings and emotions, and consequently, they are happier.
That is why money, power, and status seldom make people happy in the long-term. Those things can make life physically comfortable, but cannot guarantee happiness. You could be very wealthy and yet choose to indulge in all sorts of negative thoughts that will make you unhappy. On the other hand, you could be happy with the bare necessities in life if you choose to focus on the positive things.
Actors and actresses who undergo plastic surgery provide a great example of how we choose to be happy or unhappy. Plastic surgeons have observed that no matter how beautiful their patients are to begin with or how attractive they become after the surgery, they are never fully satisfied with the way they look! Many prominent actors and actresses from both Hollywood and Bollywood resort to plastic surgery many times over to appear younger and more attractive.
According to plastic surgeons, most of these screen idols are never fully satisfied with the results of surgery. They just keep coming back to make more changes to their faces and bodies! Why do they do so?
It is because in their zeal to become physically perfect, these actors and actresses tend to notice only the negative aspects of their physical appearance. When it comes to their bodies, they have trained themselves to be overcritical. They have forgotten how to appreciate their natural beauty and the miracle that is the human body.
For people who choose to be happy, even insignificant things like a flower, a passing courtesy, or a child’s innocent babbling could be enough to make them happy. Happiness can and usually does come from the little things in life. Happy people are generally more enthusiastic and have a clearer sense of direction; they know what they want or don’t want in life. They are more passionate about what they do. They are in control of their lives because they exercise their choice to manage their thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
Unhappy people, on the other hand, let life events or other people control them. It is almost as if they give their remote control to others who make them feel good or bad!
For example, some people believe that they are worthy only when others around them say so. They constantly seek and need validation from others to feel worthy as human beings.
In a nutshell, external elements like money, power, and status can give us more options in life. As super coach, self-help writer, and advisor Anthony Robbins aptly states, “With money, you can arrive in style.” But can it guarantee contentment and happiness? Contentment and happiness are intrinsic to you; only you can choose to be happy.
WHAT HAS ATTITUDE GOT TO DO WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Your attitude influences your overall disposition and behavior. If you’re happy and content, you’re likely to be more positive towards your customers, others around you, and life in general. Conversely, if you’re unhappy, you tend to be aloof and negative towards anyone and everyone that you encounter.
Recall how you behave with others when you were extremely happy – are you not all smiles, helpful, overly accommodating, and forgiving? In contrast, what happens when you feel below the weather? Are you not short-tempered, snappy, and irritable?
However, that is not where it ends - your emotions and feelings influence the mood of the customers you serve, for your emotions and feelings are contagious.
The chart below shows how your attitude influences your customers.
It is obvious that when you feel positively towards your customers, they feel positively about you and even themselves. Similarly, when you harbor negative feelings towards your customers, they respond negatively towards you.
If you are not enthusiastic or passionate about your products, your customers subconsciously read your feelings and beliefs towards your products and don’t feel positively about them either.
In a way, you cannot influence your customers with emotions that you don’t have or feel. Attempting to influence customers that way would be an uphill task, because faking emotions that you don’t have is difficult – you will not be able to sustain the act for long, and eventually customers will see through your facade.
Enthusiasm and passion, like most other emotions, are highly contagious.
Adopted from my book, 'Why Selling Sucks & Building Relationships Work?' _ available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com & trafford.com