Social networking hack #7
I have early childhood memories of my grandmother saying to me “you catch more flies with honey.” I never quite grasped the meaning of that until I got much older.
I used to fly every week for work. I did this for years (and it was not glamorous). When you fly weekly, you see how often flights get canceled for weather, maintenance issues, etc.
When a flight is canceled, hundreds of people are bumped from the flight. All those angry people gather around the podium to intimidate the unfortunate airline representative who pulled the short straw. They yell, rant and throw their weight around to show how important they are without stopping to realize that how ugly, rude (and mean) they are. In the early days I was right in there with them, and I spent many a night sleeping on the cold airport floor waiting for the next morning’s flight.
One time (I don’t know why), I saw all these angry people and I thought to myself “I’m stuck here, so I’m going to try an experiment and be completely different than all these other people. I’m going to be super nice and polite to this airline representative.” So that’s what I did and the most amazing thing happened: Because I was the one nice, respectful person, she smiled and asked me to step to the side away from everyone else. That’s when she told me that I was getting a first class seat on the next flight in 30 minutes, and all these other angry people would wait ’til morning.
On my awesome first class flight home, I got free scotch, warm nuts, free movie, a chocolate chip cookie and a stewardess’s phone number. That whole way home, I thought to myself “wow, that’s how to get amazing things!”
These days, I don’t have to travel anymore, my business is online and we also use services from many other businesses. Things often go wrong and we communicate on a daily basis with support staff at those companies, and the interactions are are always online.
It’s easy to get frustrated and to be rude while hiding anonymously behind a computer, but I always fight that temptation. Instead, I remember to be polite and respectful the very same way I did at that airport — and the same thing continues to happen to me over and over. People are so relieved to have someone polite and respectful, that they are willing to give me extra great service for being the bright spot in their day. It takes conscious effort, but it really pays off. You get what you need and feels good at the same time.
Yes, grandma was right. You do catch more flies with honey!