To quell the mocking bird

To quell the mocking bird

Jane works in an administrative role in a small business. The phone rings (for the 20th time today), and it’s a customer she has rung a few times to chase some unpaid invoices. Jane has to explain to the customer that she really needs to pay the outstanding invoices to continue using the software that Jane’s company provides to the customer’s store. The customer retorts mockingly that she never saw the invoices (even though Jane had already resent them twice) because Jane’s company keeps sending them by email which she never checks, that she would consider paying if the software was any good, and that she really doesn’t have time to deal with such trifling matters.

If you were Jane, what happens next?

The untrained mind’s response

If you are like pretty much most other people, well you would become frustrated, wouldn’t you? Perhaps even a little angry? You are well within your rights to do so.. it’s the customer who is clearly at fault. You are just doing your job. But of course you can’t take it out on the customer – “the customer is always right”, as your boss says. So? Well you explain in your politest, businesslike voice that the invoices just have to be paid, so should you resend them? And if the customer says something else mockingly, well what can you do? “The invoices just have to be paid, so should I resend them?”.. and on and on it goes until one of you hangs up the phone.

Now if you’re lucky, you’ve had some training in dealing with difficult customers, so perhaps you are able to get the payment after all (or a commitment to pay in the near future), or perhaps not.

Either way, you’ve had a stressful day at work, and you go back home feeling a bit smaller than when you walked into work in the morning.. the next day you wake up “really” not wanting to go to work…

A trained mind’s response

You straight away notice the churn in your gut and rush of blood to your head. You realize that you are upset and angry. You take a deep breath or two and then pay attention to the incoming and outgoing breath for perhaps just a few seconds. You find that it calms you down. You are now back on more or less even keel.

So now you explain in your warm voice, that the software seems to be well liked, and working well at the thousand other stores that use it, so could you help perhaps by arranging some more training to the customer’s staff in using the software? And oh those invoices really do need to be paid, so should you resend them?

Perhaps you are able to get the payment (or a commitment to pay in the near future), or perhaps not. The customer might even thank you at the end of the call.

You feel good that you have clearly overcome a stressful scenario, and so you go back home feeling pretty good. The next day you wake up thinking “I wonder what exciting new challenge is in store for me today…”

A master mind’s response

You smile. Because you know that the only reason that you would ever have to face a difficult, mocking person is that you have been exactly that sometime in the past – you only reap what you sow after all. So you silently say “thank you, another karmic imprint is now dissolved” (note: “karma” is simply an imprint that forms in your mind when you act – think, say or do anything. The imprint takes on the same character as the intention behind the action. And this imprint eventually shows up sometime in your life to “force” you to experience the same action that you put out).

But you also want the best outcome for the customer. Not just because she is your company’s customer, but because like you, she is also a feeling, caring human being – someone’s daughter, wife, mother, friend. Indeed she is you, and you are her. So you explain in your warm voice, that the software seems to be well liked, and working well at the thousand other stores that use it, so could you help by perhaps arranging some more training for the customer’s staff in using the software? And oh those invoices really do need to be paid, so should you resend them?

Perhaps you are able to get the payment (or a commitment to pay in the near future), or perhaps not. The customer might even thank you at the end of the call. Whatever happens, you silently thank the person for actually having helped you dissolve that karmic imprint, and sincerely wish her well.

You are (always) happy.

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