A client I was consulting once said to me: "Thoughts are things. When we are thinking bad thoughts about customers, somehow they know it." He was describing a staff member who viewed the customer as an interruption of her day. Even though she was outwardly pleasant to the customers, many of them then reacted in a negative manner to her and she never knew why.
It started innocently enough for her. When she was working on something else and the customer would open the door, she would audibly sigh, not loud enough for the customer to hear but just a little display of exasperation. She would then
compose herself and turn to greet the customer. It then grew into conversations with other staff members about certain customers that she didn’t like and although she would greet that customer in a professional manner, the foundation for the relationship was cast.
Our sub-conscious mind works in weird and mysterious ways. It picks up on signals that aren’t visible to the naked eye. We can make instant decisions on whether we trust a person, like a person, are attracted to a person, as well as many other things. Little Martian antennae sprout out of our heads like Ray Walston on My Favorite Martian and they can pick up discrepancies that cause us to feel a certain way - immediately! Call it a first impression, call it vibes, call it intuition, but don’t disregard it as of no consequence.
A thought as a thing? Roy H. Williams describes in his book, Thought Particles, how particles of thought are stacked together to blossom into a full thought. Imagine what happens to that particle stack if the first layers of the foundation are not stable? Colliding these particles may create interest, but the results may not be of the positive variety.
Communication is 60 percent non-verbal. What can begin as the most innocuous of thoughts can transform into full-blown irrational behavior when a customer intuitively picks up on the negative thought. That often leads to a customer service experience that leaves something to be desired and often can negatively impact sales. The amazing thing about this situation is that if you ask either the sales rep or the customer, neither of them could explain why the situation went awry. Remember, this is your sub-conscious working; the customer often won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how they felt about what you said.
What can you do about it? You can choose your attitude, choose to celebrate the customer and keep those nasty little thoughts from entering your mind. Sometimes, it’s tough to do but it’s definitely worth the effort. Please, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you wear a mask to disguise your true feelings. This is changing the way we think, which changes the way we act, which positively impacts on our sales results. And that is truly worth celebrating.