When working in the service industry we would regularly receive training on improving the customer experience. One of these seminars stuck with me for the longest time, and whenever I hear the phrase ‘No Problem’ I am drawn back to the lesson. The seminar started with a video of people working in the service industry, busy about their daily work. When approached by a customer they would reply to requests with the phrase ‘No Problem’ it seems innocent enough until we dissected it and went through the emotional reactions to hearing that.
As a customer, being told your request is ‘No Problem’ for the employee to complete implies that it actually is a problem to request that. However, that employees attitude towards helping you out makes it OK…. After a while, the customer starts to realize that many of their requests seem to be considered ‘problems’ by the employee and starts to feel uncomfortable requesting anything, and their stay is marred by this.
Not only did I find this fascinating from a customer service delivery perspective, but I think in the bigger picture it was one of the first time I actually appreciated what was clearly a professionally developed initiative to improve experience based upon psychological study of the customer. That led on to how we can influence thoughts and feelings by the way we choose to interact with them.
This training experience for whatever reason has changed the way that I have interacted with any number of people since then, often in very high touch consultative sales environments – the core that I captured from the training was that you have to be very careful not to inadvertently shape an encounter into something that it doesn’t need to be by careless use of language, and more importantly, non strategic thinking.
How this relates to the points and miles community for the week? Well, if you can internalize the notion of controlling your language into a goal orientated approach you will reap rewards aplenty in all aspects of your life, from customer service issues, to upgrades on planes, and simple human interactions at home or in business. More specifically I would like to draw your eye (which is the exact opposite of what we should do) the issue of the Vanilla Reload/CVS melodrama that is unfolding on Blogs, Twitter and forums. The rumor is that these VR cards won’t work with Credit anymore at CVS, so people can’t leverage their CVS related credit cards anymore.
Bloggers and Twits, along with those poor souls who simply interact on forums as they cannot afford a blog of their own are falling over themselves to find out the truth of the matter – is it TRUE? I heard two days ago that as of 03/31 or 04/1 this will happen, this tragic event where we cannot buy any more Vanilla at CVS –IS IT TRUE????
We need to know!!!! We need to know FIRST, because if it is true we need to know!!!!
These twits are asking store managers if they have seen this ‘Memo’ is it TRUE that I CANNOT do this? Is it TRUE that TOMORROW I CANNOT buy with a CREDIT CARD any more? IS IT TRUE?
You keep asking if it is true, and guess what – it becomes a PROBLEM.
You create the problem by picking poor words, and focusing the light of attention on something that you should not. I will let you into my biggest secret, I worry about Vanilla going away a little bit too, I mean – not too much because these things always go away and really, it’s not the end of the world in any case. But I am going to keep a stiff upper lip about this, because you know what, worrying is more likely to make your reality happen the way you don’t want it to than not.
Stiff Upper Lip –English Phase, origin from sailors who would feign death near a port in order to be dumped overboard and swim to freedom. They would be sewn into their hammocks, then cut their way free in the water. Once the command heard of this they instructed the final stitch on the hammock would go through the sailors upper lip, if they flinched or cried out they would be discovered and executed, if they could keep a ‘stiff upper lip’ they would be dumped overboard alive and could cut their way to freedom.
What I am going to do about CVS
Nothing, no panic, no asking the manager if it is TRUE, if a dozen blogs and a score of twits tell me it isn’t possible to buy with a credit card I will ignore them all – I don’t CARE – I will go to my local CVS, hand over my card and ask for my Vanilla, in my reality it is fine, there was never a problem. You may think this silly, but this is what I call the Jedi Mind Trick, and I have used it for things like avoiding immigration requirements, skipping around security protocols, closing business deals at prices twice the market rate and any other number of ways that have added incredible value to me.
What you can do to help me
You can stop running around like a headless chicken hoping to be the first to break the news on this, it either is true or it is not true and your input is less than worthless to that, your asking if it is TRUE only increases the chances of making it TRUE, so shut the hell up. Bloggers, write some more about the (rather excellent) Arrival Card, Twits, go back to sharing your Cats sleeping habits, Forum contributors, go back to being dicks to people who ask the same question you asked a week ago, and let me keep on buying my Vanilla. If you do want to buy up some more vanilla, do so within the scope of your credit lines, remember that if you lose the cards they are very hard to replace, and that they don’t have FDIC insurance, so don’t hold them too long, but most of all, if you buy them, keep calm, act normal and stop asking pointless questions that do nothing but make the people you ask start THINKING about this subject.