The Power of One

Cause and Effect

July, 2018

When recently asked why he no longer uses a well-known discount airline for his frequent trips abroad the story behind our colleague’s response was intriguing.

“I sat on some chewing gum discarded on my seat and they lost my luggage, all on one trip.” 

As unfortunate as that seemed we were still confused as to why this would lead to a lifelong vow to never fly with a specific company again. The remainder of the story gave us greater insight.

“When I explained the chewing gum incident to the air steward she just laughed, shrugged her shoulders and offered no other comment. Then the loss of my luggage with no resolution served to be the icing on the cake.”

The whole story reminded us of how one member of staff’s behaviour is often inextricably linked to a customer’s view of a whole organisation regardless of its size. It also highlighted the fact that so many customers only remember us not getting it right when things go wrong.

When this story was related in greater detail to a group of students being trained in Managing Challenging Customer Behaviour at a Housing Association in London we were inundated with similar vows made after receiving what was perceived to be poor customer service in challenging circumstances.

The fact is, when we remain calm or just simply professional no matter the provocation, albeit to laugh, it’s reassuring to note it often changes outcomes. If, as one member of staff once said, ‘I always find customer complaints and issues irritating’, then perhaps a career change is in order.

A well-known Chinese Proverb indicates that probably what we are choosing to do may not be wise for us or ultimately beneficial for the customers we engage with:


The question is, do front-line staff have ‘smiling faces’ and do they understand that their interaction with a customer can determine their view of a whole multi-million pound organisation? It reminded us of The Power of One when faced with what may appear to be challenging customer behaviour.

Customer Service courses that may also interest you:

Written by Business Development Director, Oliver Henry.

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