This past weekend was spent conducting customer surveys for a retail client of ours. My wife and stood by the checkout lines and asked purchasers and non-purchasers to take a customer satisfaction survey of their experience. This isn't normally a part of my job (not part of the 85% I love or the 15% I dred), but we found ourselves needing some extra help completing the project.
Though it made for three long days, it was a great experience. The vast majority of customers we spoke with made the task pleasant and enjoyable. I would say that 95 percent of the customers were friendly, kind and gave us valuable feedback. Then there were those five percent of customers who made the task more difficult. A few customers treated us like we had a communicable disease and were downright rude when we asked for their opinion. A few others took the survey but extended their bad attitude towards us as they did so.
It was a good reminder of working in the contact center. The vast majority of customers are pleasant, kind and respectful. It is always that small minority that makes the job more difficult. For some reason, our human nature tends to focus on the few difficult customers rather than the majority of pleasant experiences. It's like one of those optical illusion drawings where you can see different things depending on how you look at it.
If you're working the phones today, I'd encourage you to keep a note pad or sticky-note on your desk. Each time you have a pleasant, friendly customer – jot down a hash mark or write the customer's name on your sheet. When one of those negative customers comes along, look down at your sheet and refresh your memory of all the pleasant customers you've talked with.
Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to see the glass half full.