Home – New Forums Wellbeing & balance What does a compassionate business look like?

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  • #997000
    Lucy Kippist
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    Lucinda Lion’s column for Flying Solo this week focuses on the importance of keeping your cool when confronting a client. She uses Petrea King’s approach to confrontation that essentially reminds us to focus on being compassionate, and approach the negative situation as if we too, are an integral part of the solution. Which of course, we are! It’s a great reminder to avoid the blame game; especially at times when we’re convinced we are losing out. This is hard enough in life, when frustrations try to get the better of us. It’s certainly something I struggle with as a parent too; keeping my focus on teaching my sons, rather than shouting. And what a work in progress that can be! Are there are any examples you can share of how you’ve focused on providing a compassionate response to a frustrating business problem? (NB: You may also enjoy reading the research findings and reflections in this post from Harvard Business Review about the way compassionate business relationships engender trust and loyalty.)

    #1209928
    Johny
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    The issue as I see it is that we generally look at things like confrontation in a negative light – as if they are the avoided until the last possible moment.

    Confrontation is actually a good thing as it allows us to move forward to a solution or result. I refuse to lose sleep anymore over something I have put off for fear of how the other side will react.

    Absolutely, it is in the wording. I however work more on an “ownership” level – ie. each party has a part to play and each needs to take ownership of their part. My responsibility is to do the job the best way I can, yours is to pay me for it within the agreed upon timeframe.

    I consider everything I do to be a work in progress and by no means get it right all the time. I have used the short sharp response to good effect and been abused for using the more compassionate approach, go figure. Much is based on the relationship I have with that person/company.

    Then again, if as per Lucinda’s article, someone mentions my weight I am more than likely to tell them to…..well you get the idea.

    For me, these are the interesting topics because they relate to a whole lot of related things like the reluctance to say no as it may offend. Good to hear others opinions on it.

    #1209929
    Lucy Kippist
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    Hi Johny,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this – I was nodding to myself as I read: “Much is based on the relationship I have with that person/company.” So important to be flexible in the way you communicate around delicate issues – as you say, for some people being direct is preferable, but I guess then it’s also always important to be polite and respectful.

    #1209930
    Burgo
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    Client / Customer relations are usually easy to form. Then along comes someone out of the ordinary. Do we treat them any differently to our other customers
    I didn’t I treated all my customer the same.
    I always asked what the were after, then I told them what I could do for them.
    If I thought I couldn’t help them I didn’t take them on.
    I didn’t get abused I got respect because I was being honest even though I may have been desperate for the job.
    You have to set standards and you know your strengths and weakness.
    If someone want to be abusive walk away you don’t need this you have a business to build and once an abusive customer always an abusive customer and you don’t have to put up with their crap.

    #1209931
    Johny
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    If someone want to be abusive walk away you don’t need this you have a business to build and once an abusive customer always an abusive customer and you don’t have to put up with their crap

    One thing I learnt a long time ago is that when it comes to money, people can become irrational very quickly. Money is a very emotive subject.

    Having worked in retail banking for quite a while and lending in particular, I copped it in a lot of different ways.

    I once had a customer whose restaurant burnt down making it difficult for him to keep up his loan repayments. While being compassionate about his situation, I was also quite firm about his need to restructure. He was very abusive towards me but reluctantly agreed. Several months later he was extremely appreciative of what I had done once he could see what I had suggested was working.

    Another became abusive for what he saw were deficiencies in our service. I challenged him and after a push back he didn’t have reason to be abusive as there had been a misunderstanding. Matter was resolved, fences mended and became a good relationship.

    Another customer was having trouble repaying. He became abusive at what he was told and loans were transferred for debt recovery. His situation arose because of his (mis)management.

    Also had a case where a staff member was being abused by a customer. I tore out of my office, got him to sign a withdrawal and closed his account. Got the shock of his life that someone would stand up to his aggressive behaviour.

    I could go on, but the point I want to make is that I reckon it is more about understanding. Understand why they are being abusive and there could be a fix.

    Had a customer abuse me terribly as few years ago and threatened legal action. Thought he had the upper hand – he didn’t. Told him to go for it, and never heard from him again.

    The underlying position I had in every example is that I knew why I was being abused and determined my response based on that, rather than the abuse itself. Certainly it can be overcome, but definitely isn’t the way you want to conduct business on a regular basis.

    #1209932
    bb1
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    I’m confused by the context of the question, you go from confronting clients to compassionate. Am I missing something.

    Or is it just my mindset which goes 100% against what the marketers and business coaches all say, in as far as ”the client is always right”. Sure if you believe that strategy you may have to have the attitude of confrontation and compassion. But if you take the attitude that the customer may be wrong, then it doesn’t come down to those aspects, it comes to you been on an equal level with the client, and being able to handle any situation with that end goal.

    #1209933
    Johny
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    Or is it just my mindset which goes 100% against what the marketers and business coaches all say, in as far as ”the client is always right”.

    I think there is a literal take and a more broad way in which this phrase can be applied.

    The literal take is that the customer is always right and we should accede to their every request/need/problem etc.

    I tend to look at it more on the basis that the customer isn’t always right, but they have a right to feel a certain way. It is understanding why they have that feeling that requires the compassions and confrontation etc.

    For example, a customer may have a certain view based on not knowing the full story, being given the wrong information, or any number of reasons. Until we have some understanding of “why”, we can’t try to resolve the issue.

    Uneven relationships are as often as not just power plays. What I get from the opening comments was that it is all in the “how”, and in this instance it is suggested that a more compassionate outlook is the better option. I never agree that any one way is the best in every situation, but my own experience tells me that being aggressive usually results in the other side getting aggressive too, which makes any problem more difficult to resolve.

    #1209934
    bb1
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    Johny, post: 250570, member: 34822 wrote:
    . but my own experience tells me that being aggressive usually results in the other side getting aggressive too, which makes any problem more difficult to resolve.

    Ah and I think that’s where today’s business (maybe a reflection on society really) falls down. If you don’t think the customer is always right or that you are ”compassionate” you must be aggressive.

    That’s the whole problem, we only ever consider the 2 extreme’s, whereas If you see it as an equal relationship, its simply called equality.

    #1209935
    Johny
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    Bert, that’s not what I said.

    #1209936
    Dennielle Lee
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    I’ve learnt that it’s important to always remember that a person’s behaviour is a reflection of what’s going on in their life and nothing to do with you. In other words, don’t take things personally. If you can keep the emotion out of it from your point of view, it’s much easier to deal with someone who is emotional. When you respond from a position of composure, you’re able to deal with the situation constructively and in some cases even defuse the other person’s anger.

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