Someone told me long ago that he lacked the personality characteristic to be able to tolerate performing mundane tasks, including dealing with automated telephone systems; working out problems with a bank; balancing a checkbook; etc. I share this absence of the personality trait that obviously includes having patience to handle being placed on hold for long periods of time, interacting with incompetent people, and in general, being able to tolerate “those little annoyances” that are part of most people’s daily lives. Fortunately for me, David has an even keeled, pleasant personality that provides him with considerable resolve to handle most of these tasks on both his and my behalf. Earlier on the day I am writing this, I overheard David talking on the telephone in an exasperated tone of voice. Although I was unable to hear what he was saying, his tone of voice communicated to me that he was handling some type of problem with a bank, a credit card company, a utility company, or another organization that sometimes employs people with less than average intelligence. When he finished his call, I asked him if everything was okay, and he replied, “No. I was dealing with the bank.” (No offense to the bankers and former bankers who read this post, but generally speaking, dealing with banks are not for the faint of heart, at least for people like me!) David is so good at handling life’s annoyances that one of my credit card companies sent him a credit card with “OK to Handle” printed on it! I’m not kidding! Because of all the times I provided my permission to the credit card company for David to handle the latest crisis that had emerged with my account, someone evidently decided his name is “OK to Handle”! David recently asked me what I usually do when one of my phone apps fails to work as intended to control the satellite radio that is connected to a TV in our bedroom. I replied, “I ask you to help me because I can’t seem to figure it out.” Needless to say, if it weren’t for David, many things in my life would go unattended. Those little annoyances are just too much for me. I am not “OK to Handle”!
It’s not easy being OK to Handle. I think we’ve written about that story before. But, in the recent example, I was dealing with one of our banks. I don’t enjoy that kind of experience, but I know I can get through it; I have to. Melissa could not. I just have to persevere. This encounter began when I had difficulty with what should be the simple task of logging onto their website. It wasn’t. Nor was it easy to get anyone to help me. It took 4 calls, leaving 2 messages (still unreturned 2 days later) and being on hold, transferred a couple times before getting to where I needed to be. It is unfathomable that a business operates as poorly as this bank does, on a daily basis. The unreturned calls are unimaginable! I guess I’ve always been of the mindset that clients and customers deserve better. They deserve return calls, they deserve to be helped, not passed to someone else. Another recent experience that put me over the top was when an automated phone system just hung up on me. It is difficult to keep an even keel when so many negative forces are at work. These little annoyances take time. Whether time is money in these situations varies. Most of these types of annoyances are a waste of time and the aggravation of it all can distract me, and probably others, for a long time after one of the annoyances happens. I know Melissa and I are not in the big corporate world, but one message I’d like to send those who are is to consider what their customers are going through. Wouldn’t it be great if senior management would pretend to be a customer and dial into their call center sometime? It would be shocking. I understand the pressures those call center workers are under. It is often easy to tell based on the background conversations and noise. But, that doesn’t excuse the lack of training and courtesy too often encountered. I’m sure I’ve cut days off of my life by being forced to interact and handle many of these annoyances. If the folks on the other end of the line were more in tune with customer, that might not be the case. I may be OK to handle, but I’m not OK with these little annoyances!