I am in an ongoing conversation about a customer service incident with my bank. I also have a friend that knows my service reps involved. In the bigger scheme, I am not sure how I feel about it. In the immediate, it makes for interesting second hand conversations about what each party is saying to the other.
From one side, there is a premise that the better we know each other, the easier difficult conversations can be. Said another way, if I know you then I will naturally forgive you for small mistakes. Additionally, I will be more tolerant of the time it takes to resolve a problem.
While I think the premise is partially true, it ignores the emotions that come getting things done by a deadline. In the case under discussion, I had a few hours to make a transaction work. If I missed the window, it would be two weeks before there was another opportunity. The pressure was intense. As I tried to work with the service reps, it seemed as if they had no idea what was wrong. Whatever the solution might be, their words told me that the problem would not be solved.
From a friend perspective, he painted a picture where I never get upset. Even as I began to protest – nobody is that perfect – he went on to say that he had reminded them that there were exceptions! One exception is when I believe I am being fed horse manure. When that happens, I can sense and smell the rhetoric. The more I find, the more difficult the conversation becomes. In this case, it became a headache that was only resolved when I solved the problem myself.
I came away with two thoughts in mind. As understanding as others might be, it is good to remember that sensitivity impacts our response. Even God is not immune to this. A wisdom writer reminded me that “God in solemn honor does things right, but his nerves are sandpapered raw. Nobody gets by with anything.” (Psalm 7.11) Second, one can always learn.