One of the four traits of the customer service masters is compassion. People who have mastered the art of customer service are naturally compassionate, they have a profound awareness of other’s suffering combined with a desire to alleviate it. One of author Mitch Albom’s friends once described him as noticing people in pain and trying to find ways to help them. What a great thing for someone to say about another person! I think most of us are compassionate most of the time, but most of us can also be more compassionate toward our fellow humans if we try. I’ve created a companion video for this blog post:
So, here are seven ways to become a more compassionate human:
- Make compassion a daily practice. As you begin your day, think about what you can do today to be more compassionate, more kind toward your fellow humans. Then, at night, reflect on what you did during the day to show kindness and compassion toward other people.
- Look for commonalities instead of differences. Our world has become terribly polarized. We’ve become obsessed with being right and showing how anyone who is different from us or disagrees with us is wrong. Liberals and conservatives, Protestants and Catholics, Christians and Muslims, men and women…we’re a global society comprised of great diversity. Isn’t it possible that there are multiple right ways to do things, multiple right ways to live our lives?
- Do the “Just like me” exercise. Related to looking for commonalities, the “Just like me exercise” from Ode Magazine is a way of finding commonalities with your fellow humans. When you meet someone new or just see someone on the street, say to yourself:
- Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.
- Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
- Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness, and despair.
- Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.
- Just like me, this person is learning about life.
- Practice anonymous acts of kindness. Do kind things for other people with no expectation of reward or even acknowledgement. Pay the bridge toll for the car behind you. Buy the coffee for the next person in line. Feed someone’s parking meter. Take a street person to lunch.
- Volunteer. When we’re helping others, we don’t have time to focus on our own problems. Not only that, but volunteering feels so good that, once we start, we tend to do more of it. Find a food bank, a homeless shelter, be a tutor or a mentor, clean up a park, volunteer at an animal shelter…anything to give back to the community.
- Slow down. A well-known study on compassion demonstrated that even the most compassionate among us is less compassionate when we’re in a hurry. I’ve certainly noticed that in my own life. When we slow down, we’re more aware of the world around us and we notice our brothers and sisters in need.
- Try to understand and forgive the person who mistreated you. This is extremely difficult for many of us, but it can be done. I think of the woman in Seattle who was attacked and told her attacker in court, “I’m so sorry for whatever it is in your life that brought you to this.” or Rais Bhuiyan, the Texas gas station attendant from Bangladesh who was attacked by a man bent on revenge for the 9/11 attacks. Rais said to his attacker, “I forgive you and I do not hate you.” Most of us will never experience the terrible things that happened to these two wonderful people, yet we harbor anger and resentment over much more trivial things like an unkind word or gesture. Remember that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven.
Compassion is not just a way of behaving, it’s a way of life. Developing a deep and abiding sense of compassion not only benefits those around us, it also benefits us! There’s research that shows how compassionate people are happier, more attractive, healthier, and less subject to depression. Being kind and compassionate is just generally good for everybody!
For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills
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