My clients are awesome. Let me rephrase, 99% of my clients are awesome. In all seriousness, they're really great. They're the reason I have a job and can pay my bills, and I'm grateful beyond measure.
Now, with that said, do not fear, I'm not about to rant or unload a venting session because of a bad experience this week, but it needs to be said—some people are just bad at being clients.
I am convinced every person at some point in their life should be required to work in sales, customer service, as a waiter, or some other form of a customer-facing position. It changes the way you consume on the buying side.
I tip differently, I'm more patient, and more understanding because I have been the server, the salesperson, the lowest on the totem pole, the one being complained to, the whipping boy for the disgruntled.
I can recall times where the actual thought went through my head after a bad experience with a customer, "I never want to make another human being feel the way that person tried to make me feel just now." I've seen plenty examples of the person I never want to become.
In all my years of working in positions where I'm the one on the receiving end of an unfair, ornery, or just downright mean client, I've picked up on a few traits that I want to make sure to avoid.
At the heart of the matter is entitlement and an elevated sense of importance.
There are a myriad of other factors: unfair expectations, disrespect, impatience, arrogance...but at the core is entitlement.
How do we guard against entitlement in our own lives?
I can't count the number of times I am reminded of the example of Jesus's humility in Philippians 2. The idea that God became man, lowered himself to be one of us, and didn't demand our service but came to serve, will never cease to amaze me.
I almost feel silly any time I catch myself standing up for what I "deserve." Realty check—if the Creator and Sustainer of the universe "made himself nothing," I think I can still leave a tip after a subpar dining experience.
Not to mention, those bad experiences are your opportunity. The same as my heart was moved the first time it encountered grace, we affect a broken world when we offer what isn't deserved...our patience, our forgiveness, the relinquishing of our "rights."
I called the UVerse customer service line the other day and blew my lid. It's been a terrible experience trying to fix an issue that should have never came into being. However, Joel (username: JB4796) didn't encounter gracious Chase. He met the entitled, angry, impatient, "putting my needs before others" Chase.
I am the bad customer I write about, and I think that's a healthy reminder. In a world of us-and-them, heroes and enemies, it's so easy to see the dust and not the planks. I'm working on it, too, and I'll get better, one bad customer service experience at a time.