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Act interested (even when you're not)

28.02.10 | Posted in General

I did a silly thing last weekend. Flying back from an entrepreneur’s retreat in the Whitsundays and determined to beat my buddy at a game of Sodoku on the plane (us entrepreneurs are very competitive), I absentmindedly popped my wallet in the back of the seat.

We changed flights in Brisbane and as I left, I forgot to collect it. As soon as we got off the plane, I’d realised my mistake. So I walked up to the Virgin Blue ground person to ask for their help.

From the outset she was plain disinterested.

She said she’d send someone down to grab it in five minutes, but made me feel as though I was an inconvenience to her day.

Fifteen minutes passed and I thought I’d go and see how she’d gone. This was her reply: “I’m very busy. When a team member becomes available I’ll send them down”. The frustrating thing was that I could see the plane still sitting there on the tarmac and I knew my wallet was on there.

I let her know that my next plane back to Sydney was due to board and she huffed audibly (yes, she huffed!) and said she’d go and check the plane for me.

Great I thought, problem solved.

Off she went and two minutes later came back and had this to say: “Nup, not there.”

I said “Is that it?” and she said “Yep.”

Completely gobsmacked about the situation (the plane was still right there and I knew my wallet was onboard – I had bought my friend and I a drink on the plane and then returned it to the seat pocket), I boarded my flight to Sydney with no wallet, and no love.

You know what would have made the situation a whole heap more bearable?

If she had just acted interested.

She clearly wasn’t. She told me that she was busy, she showed no friendliness, and she showed no interest in helping me. As a result I was left feeling unlooked after and disappointed.

I get that I made a silly mistake and that the situation was all my doing but if she’d just shown a little bit of empathy and taken an interest I would have been happy.

ALWAYS appear interested when dealing with customers, even when you’re not. You’ll diffuse them straight away and they’ll go on to sing your praises.

Want to know the only good part to this story? I won the Sodoku game.

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1 Comment

  1. Chris Sharkey

    Great article Emma! I hate these little situations where you’re totally at someone’s mercy and they just don’t care because it is ‘just a job’.

    The thing is, that lady is unlikely ever to rise beyond that position because of that very attitude which made her treat you like that. That’s some vindication, but still doesn’t solve the wallet problem!