Your Intention Vs Your Actions

Allow me to introduce myself. I was once part of a core team of four key leaders to bring into Singapore the “Best-in-Class” of an internationally acclaimed training institution for Service Excellence training five years ago.

Handling this project allowed me to learn many things. One thing that I learned is about how others judge us by our actions, whereas we judge ourselves by our intentions.

Many forms of misunderstandings can happen because of this.

For example, one day an ice cream shop crew ran out of strawberry toppings. Because they had no toppings, they could not serve strawberry sundaes. The unfortunate crew member felt bad for the customers and sincerely apologised to every customer who requested for strawberry sundaes. This went on and on. However, with each apology she made, she because slightly more exasperated.  

When she finally came to customer No. 74, she became tired of the customer’s requests for strawberry sundaes and burst out, "I don't have strawberry sundae to serve you! Why do you want to order one?!"

You can imagine the bewilderment on customer No.74’s face when he heard the frustrated voice of the staff. Customer No. 74 would never have known that the poor crew staff had to repeat the same message to 73 other customers in the course of a couple of hours causing her fatigue and frustration.

Bewildered by the staff’s response the customer retorted in a way most people would, "Excuse me? How would I know you don't serve strawberry sundaes?! Is this the way you treat all your customers? I’m concerned about this attitude."

The service counter crew responded, "You should reflect upon yourself, Mr Customer!"

And there we have a classic recipe for disaster. The good intentioned crew made the wrong action and said the wrong thing because of a series of unfortunate events which led to the customer reacting badly to the harsh words from the crew staff.

The service staff’s mind was too clouded to understand what the customer meant when she used the word “concerned”. The customer was concerned because the reputation of the store would be damaged by the way the staff treated their customers.

If we learn how to understand the intention of others and learn how to control our own actions, the world will be a much better place to live in.

Talk to Pong: or +65 6603 8229.

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