Pic.: Fr. Reginald Pinto
The worst thing one can do when someone comes with a complaint is: argue. There is trouble ahead, beware!
No matter how nasty the complainant is, muster all the patience in your heart and listen… even if it means plugging both your ears with some hard cotton!
But, listen to him… Give him the impression that he is being heard, respected… Not being ignored, neglected… taken for granted.
I just spent some thirty minutes listening to a certain complaint from a gentleman. He started on a composed note and I handled his complaint keeping my cool intact. But, as the discussion proceeded, the gentleman became quite vocal and kept saying the same thing over and over… I could feel my patience waning… and, I found myself arguing with him, on and off, during our discussion. But, the moment I tried to argue, I could feel things working against me… I quickly changed my track, and with all my sincerity, I told the gentleman that I fully understand his problem, and I would do all within my capacities to solve the problem. The more I said that, the less I experienced the resistance.
The other person’s complaint is always other person’s. “What would you have done, if you were in my place?” the gentleman had asked me.
Well, what would I have done, if he was in my place?
When I recall the discussion we had, I think, what the gentleman had done with me, I have done with so many times before with others – about my cell-phone bills or my credit card bills, about my Property-tax bills or about our grocery bills… Yes, “What would you have done, if you were in my place?” I have asked all these people.
All that I had expected whenever I had complained
about anything with anybody was this: He should
listen to my complaint; he should empathize with
me; he should not ignore me…
should not take me for granted.
So, listening with loads of patience is the best way – and the only way – of handling someone’s complaints… and, yes, solving them, too.
Listen… Listen… Listen. And, listen, even if it means plugging your both ears with sound-proof cotton!
But, who am I telling this to?