? ?
07 January 2010 @ 11:58 am
In which I am puzzled  
Goodwood Furniture (Henceforth GWF): Hello, Goodwood Furniture, may I help you?

Me: Yes, my name is Janet Miles, and I need to start by apologizing. I had a furniture delivery scheduled yesterday, and I managed to (a) give you my cell phone number rather than my husband's, and (b) leave my phone in the car, so your delivery driver tried to drop off the bookcase and couldn't reach anyone. I am perfectly willing to re-pay the fee for a re-delivery.

GWF: Oh, my husband does the deliveries, and he's not here today, but if you call back tomorrow, or I could have him call you, you can work something out.

Me: Okay, sure, thank you. Let me give you *three* numbers: here's my cell phone, here's my work phone, and here's my husband's cell phone. And if you could please pass along my abject apologies.

GWF: Not a problem; when I start walking on water, I may start getting upset about things like this. Thank you for being so nice about it.

Me: Thank *you*, and I'll look forward to your husband's call.

Here's what's puzzling me: Why in the world is she thanking me for being nice when it was my fault in the first place?
une idee fixeideealisme on January 7th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Maybe because you're nice :)
kshandra on January 7th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Because the number of people who own their screw-ups in the manner you have is, alas, vanishingly small.
Lolleelolleeroberts on January 7th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
hedwig5221hedwig5221 on January 7th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yup, this.
siliconshaman on January 7th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Definitely this.
gh4acws on January 7th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
and you talked to them and tried to fix things
Ayoub™ayoub on January 7th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
I guess too many people call and blame them...
Jettewolfette on January 7th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
because most of the calls she gets will NOT be nice, even if it was the customer's fault.
Bill the bold bosthoonwcg on January 7th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Because she gets phone calls from asses all day, and you were considerate and thoughtful?
amaebiamaebi on January 7th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Because a lot of people aren't. Frustrated people very commonly blame [someone else]. Not getting furniture delivered as expected makes lots of people frustrated. Moreover, when people know their culpability they commonly shift immediately into blame mode, don't want to be blamed, and blame someone else. Or do self-blame -> self-excuse --> blame of other.

Your rationality and freedom from need to blame are notable not only here, but in general. :) Take credit.
griffen on January 7th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Because most people blame the service, even when they know it was their own fault. You, my dear lady, are unusual in that you accept your responsibility in situations like this and make it very clear to the other party or parties that you know it's your responsibility. That's rarer than rare in today's society.

I admire you for being able to do that. It's still hard sometimes for me to take responsibility when I make an error like this one (or worse). I hope to emulate you, and try to. (Perhaps I need a button: "WWJMD?")
Stephen Harrissweh on January 7th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
It's hard for me (a perfectionist) to accept that I've made a mistake. But what I found works for me is realising there's no real downside to admitting to these types of mistake, and plenty of upside.

For example: A month ago I overslept and was going to work from home, but I'd lost my remote-access SecureID token and my boss wasn't happy with me. When we'd worked out how to get me access I wrote him an email explaining my thought processes and how I'd made this mistake and apologising for it... and he phoned me up thanking me!

I think it's because most people expect to enter a blame-throwing argument when things go wrong; the person who proactively admits a mistake just makes life easier for everyone and people can get down to resolving the issue in a much calmer rationale manner.

Just be careful to not accept legal liability in a car crash :-)
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on January 7th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Car crash, or any situation involving the police. One technique the police use, which works especially well on youngsters, is to tell the accused that the victim really feels bad, and, if they just write a note apologizing for what they did, then that would show a good faith on the accused's part.

This is how the police get written confessions. It often works even if the accused didn't do it.
saoba on January 7th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Because taking customer service calls can be like being on diaper duty- it is needful yet one knows going in there will be a certain amount of asses and excrement.

Also- I messed up apparently causes many people's language center to go wibbly and YOU messed up comes out instead.
Stephen Harrissweh on January 7th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
What people said.
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: EWWWEEEfatfred on January 7th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)

Because life is usually more like this:

Lesliemamatiger on January 8th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
LOL. Seriously, LOL.
Me: “You still owe me money from the last set of changes which hasn’t been paid for six months, so I won’t make any more changes or provide you with an unlocked PDF until your account is up to date.”

Client: “What do you stand to achieve by doing this?”

Janet: The furniture lady could tell you felt bad about the mix up, and was trying to make you feel better, because it wasn't that big a deal in her eyes; also, you're a paying customer, she has a vested interest in keeping you happy. Also, what everyone else said.
dave wdaze39 on January 7th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
What people said: some callers might have been all grouchy with frustration; you were more interested in just sorting the situation out.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on January 7th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Two reasons:

1. Because many people react to making mistakes by becoming hostile and defensive. And therefore, when they screw up, they get nasty.

2. Because thanking you is a kind thing to do, and it means that you're going to think of her as a kind person, the sort of person you'd like to continue to do business with, and whom you will recommend to friends who also want to buy furniture.
The Evil Twingrey_evil_twin on January 7th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Because not everyone is nice about these kinds of mix ups? And it was an accident that you left your phone in the car? And that its not a big deal?
Peter Engdornbeast on January 7th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Given what is posted in customers_suck, it wouldn't surprise me if some people out there are trying to encourage polite behavior with "thank you" cookies.
Shadow/Brookekengr on January 7th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
Because the average caller is far from nice.
browngirl on January 9th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
I would've thanked you, too, after such a pleasant interaction, says a girl who answers the phone for a living.
Miche: deep breathmicheinnz on January 9th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
Because a whole heck of a lot of people would have found a way to try and blame the company they were calling, or become defensive, or otherwise made the company representative's life just that bit shittier. The fact that you didn't can be like a ray of light in an otherwise crappy day. Trust me.
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on January 9th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
Positive Feedback.


Caller #1 calls and is nasty. Then...

Caller #2 calls and makes her feel bad. Then...

Caller #3 calls and yells. Then...

Caller #4 calls and upsets her. Then...

Caller #5 is Janet Miles, who calls and makes her feel like she has just been handed a complete rumcake with embedded cherries and with frosting made from whip cream and with a candle on top. Then ....

GWF then says "Thank You" in the hope that it will encourage Janet Miles to call back sometime and be nice to her again. (In the short time she has before Caller #6 calls.)

Positive Feedback.

God bless you, JM, for being nice.