Last night my friend [his earthly&nerdly blog can be found here – sorry again to those non English speakers, it’s in Finnish] had his first stand up performance at Tampere Teerenpeli. This was his second in a row; the first one was at Helsinki On the Rocks the night before. He pulled his thing off nicely and the jokes were even funny [yes, it was a relief that I didn’t have to fake the laughter and afterwards praise him when thinking in my head ‘Don’t go quitting your day job’]. He even had planted a name ‘Marko’ to one of his sketches so could it be more perfect for me?
But of course as I’m mostly writing about dull things like advertising and marketing, I had to find something to say about them from yesterday’s situation too. Well, what I was thinking afterwards was that the standard stand up crowd consists of many different kind people; you have the suit guys [who got most of the targeted jokes on them – surprise surprise], the basic working class people, the artsy fartsy people [where I slightly consider myself in, very slightly], and so on.
So what is the unifying element they all have; why are they there? No matter what other things they like or prefer to do, they all like laughing. People usually [even in Finland] like to laugh and feel themselves amused. I believe this is one of the most biggest things, a business benefit at the customer care business, one should understand and take under consideration.
For example, do you want your presentation to have a feel similar to a funeral, or a feel-good thing where all are getting the most out of the situation? How you create this good meeting, is in your own hands and it starts from you being a natural funny easy going person you are [like we all basically are, right?]. And not either suck up and bend in front of every little request the customer is making, and in the other end, not being this ‘highly creative artsy bastard’ either. Stop taking everything so seriously and relax.
Now someone there is thinking, ‘Well, but often the customer can be a real arse who thinks he knows my job better than I do, and they’re the ones that are often grim and boring’ [this isn’t my thinking at all, I just somehow invented this. Hello to all our customer who might be watching. :D]. So what, I say? You cannot control how other people act, but you can at least try to slightly and quietly direct the feel of the encounter to somewhere ‘nice’, with your actions and reactions.
As many spiritual men, for example like Gandhi and Dalai Lama have often pointed out: one cannot stay in hatred if the other is always reacting with kindness, understanding and calm. This is a BIG statement from guys being kicked in the head for few times in their lives. And they still keep [Gandhi of course in past tense, rest his soul] calm.
And yes I know it’s hard. It’s sometimes hard to suck up that sense of professional pride of yours and say ‘I don’t know about this’ or ‘I have to find out’, or even ‘I think you may be right’. When interacting with a customer that is.
And yes, there are times when they bombard you with their ‘evil email’, asking you questions that may sound stupid and you aren’t that eager to once again spend that precious time of yours to answer the same ones you thought you already had clearly answered.
Well, that’s called customer care. I’m not saying the customer is always right, he isn’t [yes, I dare to state that publicly] and the attention they desire isn’t always reasonable. Like my friend starting his stand up career has stated: ‘I’m the guy you’re always calling to when your printer screws up, and that sometimes pisses me off. Do you think I’m some kind of a clairvoyant or something!’.
But still, the only real way for us to succeed in this godforsaken rock is to try to get along, in every situation. And the following thought I’ve stated before, could help: Everyone is a customer in some point and everyone is in a customer care in some point; it is only a matter of time and situation. Oh, behave!