When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age. I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset. And more often than not, that one bad shot and the frustration that followed would be followed by another bad shot and more frustration. It would snowball, and everything would go downhill.
One day, I was playing the third hole on my home course with my Dad. I was hitting my second shot, and instead of the ball going straight to the green, it took a sharp left turn into a big pine tree. The ball pinged from branch to branch until it dropped to the ground. Highly upset at hitting such a horrible shot, I flung my club into that same tree. But the club did not drop to the ground; it was stuck up in the tree.
How My Dad Responded
Now my Dad could have responded in a number of ways. He could have yelled at me for throwing my club. He could have told me to climb up the tree and get it. He could have given me a stern lecture on my poor behavior.
He did none of those. Instead, he walked over to the tree, climbed up, and got my club. He then handed it to me and walked away.
I don’t know if I had ever been so embarrassed in my life.
How I Responded
Needless to say, I stopped throwing clubs. Today, I rarely play golf, and when I do, I don’t play or score nearly as good as when I was a teenager. But I seem to take more joy in playing. And when I hit a bad shot, I don’t let it affect me much at all. More importantly, I don’t let it affect my next shot and eventually ruin my round.
In customer service, you have many opportunities to get frustrated. And while the immediate reaction – the frustration – is understandable, don’t let that bad situation affect the attitude you take into the next situation, the next conversation, the next encounter.
Don’t let one frustration snowball and ruin your whole day.