I was helping a friend to get a visa to travel to a foreign country when I encountered some of the worst customer service within memory.
The “dysfunctionary “ behind the bullet proof glass took a look at the application materials and started to criticize them, harshly, making it sound as if they were woefully inadequate.
This triggered a back and forth cycle of defensiveness, each party justifying his or her opinion.
At one moment, I remember thinking: “If this country doesn’t want your travel business, to heck with them; then go somewhere else!"
But a few minutes later, in bumper to bumper traffic, it hit me:
A person may represent a country, and do a very poor job of it, but he or she isn’t the entire country!"
Logically, this is obvious. Countries have thousands, and millions, and even billions of citizens. One person is statistically insignificant.
But emotionally, well that’s another story.
As customers, we generalize. Call it “The Tip of the Iceberg" theory: If one representative of a class is problematic or irritating, the rest, the ones we have yet to see, lurking in the depths, will be that way, too; or so we infer.
Resisting this temptation is difficult, but we have to do it with companies, as well.
If we reach the “bad apple" we have to try again, hoping to find a good one, and if that doesn’t work, we should contact the orchard manager.
My friend finally got her visa and her trip was great, and without exception, the people she met were friendly and helpful.
More than ever we appreciated that one person is simply that: just one person, and to be fair to ourselves, above all, we should try to find the better helpers, the ones that are not yet visible, but are somewhere in the background.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 700 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable, " published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: Trading Educators Inc