Monday, October 01, 2007

Timely Comeback

If you’re anything like me you’ve likely had this scenario happen to you. You get into a situation where you are attempting to persuade someone to com around to your way of thinking. They keep insisting that there is nothing that they can do to help. You reluctantly accept your fate. Then about 10 minutes later you think of the ultimate comeback that would have persuaded them to change their mind, but the moment is gone. Well Saturday I was vindicated. I actually thought of the right persuasive comment at exactly the time I needed it and the situation turned out exactly in my favor. This happens to me so rarely that I felt it was worth a blog entry.
Last week we noticed that our air conditioner was leaking and making a small puddle on the den carpet. So we called for our seasonal service and the repairman told us that he’d fixed the problem. Well a few day go by and Friday I notice that the puddle is actually getting worse not better. We called for another technician to come by. Saturday morning we were trying to plan our day and I called the Estes and asked them to narrow down the time for me so I could plan to be home when the tech showed up. The rude customer service rep couldn’t narrow down the time and insisted that we had to be home all day to just wait for them to show up. Well it was 8:00am on a Saturday and they routineuely show up for service after 5:00pm. I told her that this was unacceptable. I didn’t care what time she picked, we’d work around it, but I wasn’t going to just sit around and wait all day. Then she pulled what she was expecting to be her “Get Out of Jail Free Card” and said, “I’m sorry but that’s our policy.” I could right an entire book about the abuses that this planet has seen because people surrender their personal decision making ability to the “policies” of a superior. But that’s another post. Here can my comeback that I believed got the result I intended.

“Is it your policy for technicians to claim they have fixed problems that they really haven’t”
“Of course not.”
“So your actions have already shown that you were willing to break policy when you created this problem. All I’m asking you to do is break policy again and give me a time that you will be here to fix it.”
“I’m sorry I can’t do that.”

At this point I asked to be transferred to her supervisor and I left a message explaining my request.
Within 10 minutes I received a call that we had been moved to the front of the dispatch list and a few minutes after that I had a call from the dispatcher telling us that the tech was on his way. The problem was quickly solved and we were able to spend the rest of the day enjoying ourselves rather than waiting for a technician.
It bothers me when people don’t treat me the same way I would have treated them. In every job I’ve ever had I’ve found it very helpful to put myself in the other person’s shoes before I respond. Even when there is nothing that I really can do I deliberately avoided the “that’s our policy” line.

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