Be kind, Lizzie urges an angry Ollie

Ollie gets angry about poor customer service – until wife Lizzie brings him back to earth by offering a pause for thought…

“And what good did that do?” Lizzie wanted to know, as Ollie ended the call and threw the phone onto the sofa.

“I told them what I thought; really told them,” seethed her husband, still angry at what he saw was service that had fallen well short of his expectations. “We shouldn’t be treated like that. We’re paying customers.”

“And just what do you suppose their call handlers to all day? Do you think they sit about drinking coffee and checking Facebook all day?” she wanted to know. “There are ways of going about these things, and losing your temper with someone is never one of them.”

“But they know how I feel about it now,” said Ollie.

“Well, that’ll make things better then. ‘Angry bloke shouts his mouth off to get better service’,” she said, making inverted comma signs in the air with her fingers. “Highly unlikely. The trouble is, you’re dealing with a national company. Thousands of employees. The one you’ve just been shouting at is virtually guaranteed not to be at fault, but you’ve treated him – or her – to a real ear-bashing. How would you like it?”

“Not the point…” he started to protest.

“Exactly the point,” she interrupted him. “Exactly the point. You’ve just been shouting at someone for something that wasn’t their fault, but could have resolved the issue for you. The result is that you’ve made their day harder, and we’re no further forward in straightening this mess out. Wrong approach altogether, you buffoon.”

Ollie had the grace to look a little crestfallen. “But at least they know how I feel about it,” said Ollie.

“Is there an echo in here? As I’ve just told you, that approach hasn’t helped. There’s no wonder mental health in the workplace is in such a sorry state of people like you bawl and shout at people who’ve done nothing wrong, but are just there to help. It sounds very much like bullying to me. Wouldn’t a better approach to try being calm, with a bit of assertiveness thrown in, to ask politely for some help in resolving an issue? Perhaps a hint of ‘please’ and a pinch of ‘thank you’ wouldn’t have gone amiss either.”

She went on: “Remember the last time we had something like this, and I dealt with it? The man at the other end of the phone stayed late to help us sort the problem out, and I didn’t have to have a hissy fit once. My blood pressure didn’t go up, and the man on the phone finished his day by talking to someone who appreciated he was there. Maybe that was a treat for him. I don’t know – but I like to think we both helped each other, and finished up on speaking terms. What’s wrong with that?”

Ollie said nothing. He thought about playing the ‘knowing how I feel’ card again, but decided against it. Likewise, he discarded his ‘got it of my chest’ option.

“What we’re going to do…” Lizzie corrected herself: “What I’m going to do is to ring in the morning, and I’m going to start by apologising for your behaviour – they’ll have recorded the details of that phone call, and your colourful language, I shouldn’t wonder – and then I’m going to be calm and rational, and we’ll get everything sorted out properly, like adults.”

Picture: Elnur | Dreamstime