How Kin I

My first duty of the day was to do a final walk-thru on a home that would be closing this morning.  Everything looked good, so I grabbed the keys, pulled my sign, and headed to the office.  As I was driving off and glancing back, I said to myself, “That home is going to work for its new buyers for many years to come.”  The people that purchased it are the nicest, and all the more deserving to be the new owners of such a well-built home.

After I got to my desk and checked my emails from yesterday, I bristled a little after reading one in particular which I considered to be overly-demanding and certainly crossing borders with me.  Since I’ve done a great deal of work for that particular client/customer, I took a deep breath, and then dismissed it as being the by-product of that person likely having a bad evening.

As with text messages, emails are also platforms where people can rant over things that could been remedied all the easier by a quick phone call.  Emails and texts have a way of being quickly taken in a negative way because they’re void of tone and cadence which is exceptionally important when attempting to interpret messages and come to valid conclusions.

You’ve certainly heard someone say, “It’s not what you said, but how you said it.”  Well that’s because tone and cadence are a big help with interpretation.  Another one I’ve brought to the attention of others is, “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but what I said, was not what I meant.”  Whomever coined that statement was well aware of how easily simple words can be mis-interpreted due to variations of tone, volume, and cadence.  I’m not even going speak about how breathy whispers can get listeners to believe just about anything being told them.

Over these long years of selling homes, I can name a few salespeople who’ve been very successful with the general public by either crossing that invisible “personal space” line which most instinctively respect, by getting “in your face” and placing you on a nervous defense, or those breathy semi-evocative vocals that trigger the more primitive, yet very influential areas of our brain.  Of course the general public doesn’t realize that most poor judgements are made when placed in such positions.

There’ve been a few times when being a bit wicked among friends, I’d comically mimic the words and actions of those very salespeople.  Keep in mind, we all have our little quirks including yours truly, but I can’t ever remember using such methods on clients or customers, because it’s just not a nice thing to do.

One of the phone calls I had to make today, was to the customer service department of a utility company.  The first person I spoke with was very kind and cordial, but because I didn’t have all the information at hand she needed, so I told her I’d get it and call right back.  Well, after getting past all their voice activations, I unfortunately got a different person.  From the get go, our conversation went from tedious to terrible.  I’d finally had enough of her sass to where I said, “I want you to connect me with the person I just spoke with.”  There I sat on hold for about 10 minutes, and likely because that naughty monkey was punishing me for sassing her back.  At last the woman I spoke to the first time, came back on the line.  I told her what her associate said to me, along with my growing all the more vocal with her.

After I gave her the information she needed, and before hanging up I said to her, “A person of your ability, should be used as a perfect example of how good customer service departments work.”  She thanked me for the compliment, but I did remind her to tell her associate among other things,  not to ask in a demanding tone, “How kin I help you?”   I’m sure you’ve had your own annoying experiences with online customer service departments.

I later mentioned to a personal banker what that naughty person said to me, and my subsequent “kicking” back at her.  She laughed and said, “Good for you! It’s about time our general public started making those people in call centers more accountable.”  What I think really bristled the most, was when I asked that woman after making blind assumptions, “Have you not learned the big difference between kin and may?”  When she replied, “That’s not a question I need to answer.”, is when I insisted on be transferred to the first woman I spoke with.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

Joe Chodur

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