Showing People They Matter
“I’m sorry about that. My phone just cut out during our conversation. What were you just about to say?” This was a common apology that Antonia was making recently. Her mobile phone was cutting out unexpectedly. She could not have long conversations with her husband. Her parents. Her close friends. Every time someone called her. This was stressing her out. Making her anxious. So she decided to go visit her mobile phone carrier.
Mobile phone plans seemed very complicated to her. She was not confident with numbers. So she asked her husband to come with her. A second set of ears. He gave her comfort when it came to contracts and numbers. What really mattered to her was that she needed a phone that worked.
They approached the concierge in the store. Antonia started to explain her situation to him. But the concierge interrupted her. “I’m sorry ma’am but there is currently a long wait. Can I take your name and number?”
Antonia and her husband looked around the store. It seemed pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon.
“How long is the wait? Antonia asked. “About one hour and 15 minutes” replied the concierge. “If you give me your name and number someone will send you a text message when you are next in the queue.”
The concierge assumed that Antonia and her husband were able to hang around the shops for that long.
“No thank you.” replied Antonia. And she started to walk out of the shop.
She looked to her husband. “Can we go somewhere else. I don’t feel like I’m important. I didn’t even get a chance to explain my issue. Like I didn’t matter. I’m just another number to them.”
The concierge was probably following instructions. Company policy. But in that moment he had an opportunity to show Antonia that she mattered. All he had to do was give her the time to explain her problem. Listen. And then explain how someone could help her as soon as they were available.
It helps when you start with empathy.
Image by Robert Owen-Wahl