My guest this week is Sharon Prizant- Director of Marketing for Cumberland Advisors www.cumber.com in Sarasota, Fl.
I always walk away from meetings with Sharon with a new piece of knowledge and insight. Her message here is so important to everyone not only in business– anywhere in life.
“Be sure you “see” the person with whom you are speaking”….
“Many years ago, after a divorce, I moved to a ski resort where the family had a mountain side home. It was the beginning of a new single life and what I considered (or tried to consider) to be an adventure. I immediately got a job at the mountain resort in lodging and customer service. I did a variety of jobs, including booking reservations, via phone for people, either for the mountain condos we maintained or for off site Village Inns, Lodges, B&Bs etc. I learned a lot about how various people talk to so called “service” people. They barely acknowledged me other than as a conduit to what they wanted or needed, NOW. Despite being personable on the phone and as helpful as possible, there was a clear attitude of entitlement and demand, along with impatience from some – though of course not all. I was startled to experience and learn this.
I was a customer at this mountain for many previous years, and now found myself “on the other side of the desk”…. and feeling invisible when checking people in and answering their many valid questions about dining in the area and shopping etc. etc.
I had many answers ready, including where to antique, where to shop, where to get specific kinds of food and wines, etc. During the season, I often found myself face-to-face with people checking in who very clearly did not see me. I was totally invisible to them. I was just their way to get keys, directions, suggestions. Nothing more. Had I been checking in with them, along with my family (on the other side of the desk) there would have been smiles, questions, interaction. As the “service” person I was not seen when behind the check-in desk.
Lesson for me – though hopefully I was never those people who did not see the check-in person or hear the reservationist, I vowed after experiencing life “on the other side of the desk” to always see and always listen and never demand or behave as an entitled special person – in the many years ahead of me.
I am grateful for that startling lesson. I keep it with me at all times.”
**Thank you, Sharon– what a sobering and thoughtful story of an often times harsh reality. I agree with you- that everyone deserves respect and courtesy. Great advice and lesson for all. ARN