While I was in Japan recently, my credit card didn’t work — most likely because I didn’t warn my credit card company that I was going to be in Japan.
When I got back to the States, I called the company to make sure the hold on my card was taken off. I spent FOREVER on the phone waiting for assistance (it must have been 30 to 40 minutes). Then the line went dead. I called and waited again only to get connected to a service representative who said that because their systems were down, she couldn’t help me.
I felt like they made me waste my time. I got mad. I’m sure I didn’t sound particularly nice.
Generally, I’m a nice guy, but I’m sure this person could hear how angry I was and thought I was just chronically unhappy.
I just wanted to get off the phone, so I didn’t give this representative who couldn’t help me much time to argue with me. It would have been easy for her to be surly in response to my being surly, but that would have just escalated my anger. A better approach would have been for her to remember that the angry customer may be an entirely reasonable — just temporarily unhappy — person.
In our doctors’ offices, it may also be hard to see that the patient who comes in unhappy — possibly because of us keeping them waiting — may not always be unhappy or angry. We should treat every patient with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt.