When We Feel Attacked, Recovery Can Take Time…
Imagine, you’re waiting to check in at the airport to fly home. You’re next in line, just behind the male passenger who isn’t getting what he wants from the check-in agent.
Perhaps not realising that his increasing volume, sarcastic comments and dismissive look are moving him further away from his goal (free upgrade to business class) rather than towards it. Eventually he comments “Bloody useless“, turns away from his intended victim (the check-in agent) and storms off.
I’m next in line to be served! A polite, somewhat forced “Good afternoon sir” greeting came my way. A few seconds later I ask the gentleman agent “Please may I check whether a seat with more leg room is available in Economy?” Without a moments pause, or check of the airline’s computer system, his sharp response to my question was “NO. ALL SEATS ARE TAKEN.” I decide to not pursue my request. Perhaps the gentleman already had information that the flight was full. Or maybe not.
A few minutes later, I return to the check-in desk area and am quickly called forward by a smiling female check-in agent. I repeat my earlier request word for word. “Please may I check whether a seat with more leg room is available in Economy?” After tapping a few keys on her computer keyboard, she looks up, smiles and responds “How about an emergency exit row seat with lots of leg room?” Result!
What’s often overlooked in organisations, and especially in customer service and sales focused roles is Managers understanding that the human brain needs time to recover when having faced an emotionally charged ‘attack’ such as the gentleman check-in agent did.