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In a previous blog post, I mentioned my experience in the Sultanate of Oman, a country on the Sea of Oman, bordering Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Oman is a wonderful country of some 4,000,000 people with a rich history and beautiful architecture, filled with very warm and gracious people and I hope to return soon.
One Person Can Represent an Entire Population
I was in Oman to teach a class on customer service for Bank Muscat’s IT department. During one of the breaks, one of the students talked with me about how Omanis are taught at an early age that each one of them represents the entire population of Oman. In other words, if you meet only one person from Oman, you could well form an opinion about all the people of Oman based solely on that one person’s behavior, the way she or he treated you during that single encounter. It may not be fair, of course, and it does seem a bit unreasonable. When you think about it, however, you realize that many of us do indeed form opinions on a variety of subjects based on very small sample sizes. In this case it’s a sample size of one. That’s hardly a statistically valid sample size, but it happens all the time.
It’s Not Just Our Own Reputation That’s On the Line
So what does this mean for those of us who work in information systems and technology? It means that our customers may well form an opinion of our entire department or company based on their interaction with a single individual. When we come across as condescending, arrogant, aloof, or otherwise disagreeable, we risk damaging not only our own reputation, but the reputation of our entire department and perhaps our entire company.
Remember the Four Stakeholders
A consistent theme in The Compassionate Geek book and training is the importance of working to achieve a positive outcome for all four stakeholders in an IT customer service interaction. The stakeholders are the customer, yourself, your colleagues, and your organization. By focusing on providing compassionate and empathetic service, by truly listening to our customer, and by treating everyone we encounter with dignity and respect, we can ensure that we maintain a good reputation for ourselves, our department, and our entire organization.
For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills
Bring my IT customer service training seminar onsite to your location for your group, small or large. Click here for the course description and outline.
Pick up a copy of my IT customer service book The Compassionate Geek: How Engineers, IT Pros, and Other Tech Specialists Can Master Human Relations Skills to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service, available through Amazon and other resellers.
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