Out of the “No” and Into the “Know”

This is not me…

I don’t get political.  Never have.  It’s not because I would struggle to carry on an intelligent conversation about the subject.  It’s because I have very little interest in being talked into or out of my views on issues, or more directly, the ideals that I allow to govern my life and the lives of my family.

I vote.  Hopefully you do too, as it is our right, that, as is already known, many people suffered and died for, without ever being able to experience the fruit of their labor.  It is also my right to keep who I voted for to myself.  This helps me to avoid those uncomfortable discussions where the ending is sometimes a polite “let’s agree to disagree” as they roll their eyes in disbelief at your presumed ignorance.  Don’t get me wrong.   I love a good argument.  Really gets the blood flowing.  It’s just that political arguments seem to be never-ending, and maybe that’s by design.  I mean, if we’re not talking about the various “relevant” parties and their views, would life really be worth living? <–perhaps a bit of a stretch there but I hope you get my meaning  I just choose to allow these discussions to be more of a spectator sport.

With that said…

The events of last week <OK, I’m talking about the election results- had some people dancing in the streets like they just won the lottery.  Others were marching in the streets as if doing so would make any difference in the outcome.  The debates are done.  Speeches were made.  Rallies were held, and in the end we have a new president-elect that is not wearing a pants suit and earrings.

Whether you threw back a few beers at a Trump party or wiped away a few tears at a Clinton, uh gathering, as the election is over, it appears to be time to ensure that you stay in the know about the future of our nation.  If you’re celebrating, you’ll want to be keenly aware of policy changes and updates to come, in the new administration.  If you’re lamenting, you’ll want to be keenly aware of policy changes and updates to come, in the new administration.  Nope, that wasn’t a typo, although I’m not immune, but everyone should have the same goal in mind going forward, and that is, simply, keep the president-elect and the forthcoming administration accountable for all of the promises made during the campaign, whether you agree with them or not.

“Look…up in the sky”

So if you’re still floating on that cloud of “No, we never thought it could happen” or crawling under that rock of “No, we never thought it could happen”, it’s time to get and then stay in the know.  Do you know what is to come in the first hundred days after Mr. Trump takes office?  Here is a link to the plan…submitted for your review, whether right, wrong, or indifferent.

I’m Jeffrey and I approve this message

OK so Customer Service, right?  A few days ago, I was at a doctor’s office where the receptionist was having a conversation with someone who, I suppose, is a patient.  I’m not sure what the patient was saying on the other end of the call, but the receptionist was pretty short-winded, negative, and impatient <see what I did there.  The conversation ended rather loudly, much to the dismay of patients in the waiting room, with the word “No” several times.  It appears that the receptionist did not know that the patient was allowed to do something, but decided to refuse the request instead of research and get back to the patient with the correct answer.

Yes but…

Sadly, the receptionist was admonished, in front of the entire office <this is a whole new blog post – and forced to call the patient and apologize.  What could have prevented it?  I would think, being in the know.  “But Jeffrey,” you say, “this receptionist thought she knew the correct answer.”  And to that, I would say fair enough.  Then I would ask how long you would argue with a customer, patient, or potential client over an issue before you decided that, perhaps they have a point that needs to be investigated?  Maybe there is a policy at your workplace that you have never referenced.  Maybe you’re the owner, and this customer’s request may require you to change or adapt a new procedure.  You may also be correct in your assessment, in which case you would need to find a skillful way to let your client know that they are wrong.  Phrases like “In the past, my experience has been…” or “That sounds possible, yet typically we like to…”, or “Allow me to look into this a little further as there may be something I am missing…” can go a long way toward diffusing a potentially  toxic interaction.

Hopefully you’re not reading this and thinking to yourself that all you do all day is diffuse toxic interactions.  Remember, you are the music-maker, so make the music. Be in the know about policies and procedures in your workplace, even if you’re the owner.  Stay in control, and know that your position is one in which you direct how things should go.  You decide if you want to engage in arguing with your customer or not. You are the subject matter expert…the one that customers look to for answers.  Give those answers, and if you don’t have the answers…


Ah, the forgotten art of asking a simple question.  We all want to look like we know, especially when we really don’t know.  How puzzling is this behavior?  Very, in my opinion, but only since I realized that people appreciate an honest answer far more than something fabricated just to keep up appearances.  A simple “Can I research that for you…” or “That’s a little beyond my current experience…” tends to raise the level of respect that a client has for you.  It makes them feel like you’re willing to increase your knowledge just so that you can help them.  Show me the customer that does not appreciate honesty, and I’ll show you a customer that you should fire immediately…or at least after you’ve made the first sale. I mean, let’s not strike a match to a little revenue.

And with that…

In life, you don’t know what you don’t know until you find out that you don’t know.  When you find out, however, that’s when it’s time to ask the needed questions so that you never have to visit that “don’t know” again.  Learn from your circumstances, unless you’re one of these folks that love to repeat mistakes.  If so, best of luck obtaining and keeping new clients!

Thanks for reading!


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