Monday, March 31, 2008

Thinking about: Being the Change

My sister Suzie recently wrote a post about how she was able to honour her value of justice by dealing pro-actively with a variety of customer service situations. Go Suzie!

In the same context, I was able to take action on my values too. As I wrote last week, my deepest value is Life and by that I mean honouring life, loving life, celebrating life. And to me, honouring each other as beings is a part of that. It's deeply impactful to me because I believe that violence and acts of cruelty are only possible when we disconnect, when we turn off our empathy and don't see each other as living, breathing beings.

What does this have to do with customer service? I've been having intense technical difficulties. I have not been able to receive emails to any account associated with my domain since last Wednesday. As I run a business, this is particularly distressing. One of the first steps I took to resolve the situation was contacting my ISP (internet service provider). I was stressed, worried and trying to communicate about something I don't particularly understand. The CSR (customer service rep) helping me was aloof, cold and clipped. He was unable to resolve the situation but was able to determine that the problem was not at their end.

At the end of the call, he asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

"It would have really made a difference if you had been friendly."

"But ma'am I went through all the steps with you. I ensured your situation was taken care of."

"Yes, you did, and I truly appreciate your help. But this is a stressful and difficult situation, and it would have been so nice if I could feel a smile on the other end of the line."

And amazingly, he softened and laughed and for a brief moment we had a human-to-human connection and the world was a better place, at least my world was. I hope his was too.

I'm not saying that every interaction has to be deeply personal. I live in an incredibly busy and crowded city. Sometimes we need to disconnect just to have some semblance of privacy. And I think sometimes people get zoned out and cold because their jobs weigh them down and they don't want to give away one more drop of energy. But when you connect, you get a chance to receive too. We can exchange our energy instead of just our information. On those occasions when our paths do cross, I hope that we can be human with each other. That's the change I want to be in the world.


daisies said...

i love this post ... being human with each other is so incredibly important i think for so many reasons, more than i can list here ...

and i think that this photo of beautiful you is luminous!! you glow :)

Melba said...

Good for you Jamie! said...

That's a very inspirational story. Thanks for sharing it. :-)

Sacred Suzie said...

Awesome, absolutely awesome and I totally agree Jamie, really connecting with all people is very important. I am so proud of you for being so honest with him and look how he reacted! He didn't get angry, but softened. Beautiful.

One of the things I've been doing is calling them and telling them my story and seeing what happens. I'm amazed at how the customer service people have responded. Stories and truth can change the world. And you did it! Woohoo!

Shannon said...

Be the change Jamie! This totally rocks, and you got a laugh - woohoo!

I hear what you are saying and it's one of the reasons I never want to work in customer service again because I become that grumpy person on the other end of the line.

Jana B said...

That is an AWESOMELY amazing change to be.

Anonymous said...

I to desire to be the change in this world we live in. I enjoyed this post most definitely. :)