Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Resolving Conflict with Respect and Love

Last year, the guys on our Bud’s Warehouse truck ran into a difficult situation. While picking up items from a residential donor, an on-site contractor decided that he was going to keep some of the cabinets for himself. And when he found out he couldn’t, he decided to pick a fight with our driver.

Not a smart move. And the kind of decision that gives me heart failure when I hear about it later. You see, our driver is an ex-boxer… a good one. And over the years, he freely admits that he has struggled with his temper. This situation was ripe for a disaster.

But then God showed up. Don remembered our anger management and customer service training back at the warehouse. He took a deep breath and listened to the man. And when it became clear the problem wasn’t going to be solved, he called his manager and left the scene.

Don shared that story this morning during a special customer service training session by a volunteer from Morgan Stanley. We talked about how the three most important factors of customer service are listening, repeating back the problem, and treating the other person as you would want to be treated yourself.

And sometimes people just need a hug. If you have worked at Bud’s Warehouse any length of time, you quickly realize that people show up carrying baggage. And we’re not talking about shopping bags from other stores. Sometimes it’s a fight with a family member and other times it might be a close-encounter on the highway, but whatever the case, they come primed with a bad attitude and a desire to share it with others.

One of our other employees, Kelly, told about a customer that wanted to pick a fight last week. She complained, griped, and argued all the way to the back of the warehouse. Kelly walked up to her and attempted the first two steps of our process to no avail.

And then he jumped to the last part and announced that he thought someone needed a hug. She looked shocked and took a step back. She thought for a minute, paused, and then hugged Kelly. She walked out of Bud’s Warehouse that morning with a big smile. And our staff had another story about how conflict can be resolved with respect and love.

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