Great Interactions – a catchy phrase intended to capture something that is so fundamental to what we are all about that it really should not need further explanation but it does, it is that very simplicity that makes it so hard to pin point and explain.
Step outside work mode for a moment and think about times you are in receipt of any kind of service – whether or not you feel you have received a good service will come down always to Great Interactions or the lack of them.
When listening to a friend complaining about the poor service she felt she had received from the call centre of a major internet provider recently it occurred to me that what had gone so very wrong with that conversation could be directly related to the absence of some of the 10 facilitation skills we in MacIntyre talk so much about now. My friend clearly
did not feel that she was listened to or that the person she was talking to was responsive to what she was saying and she certainly did not feel any warmth quite the opposite as the experience left her feeling that she had been regarded
as a problem or an inconvenience. I suspect that we have all at some time or another had a similar experience and been left feeling more upset, frustrated or angry as a result of the interaction than we were about the original problem
that caused us to phone up in the first place.
Of course if a poor interaction can leave us feeling like this it is equally true that a Great Interaction can leave us feeling really good even if the activity or task concerned is not that special or even enjoyable. For example think about when you make an appointment for yourself or a member of your family at the local health surgery – you know which Doctor you would prefer to see and I doubt that is because of their professional qualifications or experience. It is more
likely to be because of the way they make you feel when you see them and that will be down to their behaviour towards you as a person.
Bill has said many times that people experience our behaviours not our values. Being told that your call is important at regular intervals will not make you believe it is – that will only happen if you are made to believe it is so by the person you speak to when you finally get through. If we are told by a supermarket cashier that they hope we have a nice day but there is no eye contact or warmth then we will not believe that they mean it.
All of us are on a journey as far as Great Interactions are concerned and the most important thing is that we find
the time to reflect on what we do and seek to improve how our actions are experienced by others. We can all talk about the right thing to do, for example respecting privacy by knocking on a door but if we are in a hurry and push the
door open at the same time as knocking will that make the person in the other room feel respected?
Remember that the word Great relates to the Interaction and not to the activity so those seemingly insignificant
opportunities we have to interact with people on a day to day basis are as important as those special events or occasions we all set such store by. It is important that we do the special fun stuff of course but we should put as much thought into how we wake someone up in the morning, share the experience of mealtimes with them or assist them to put their coat on. After all that phone call my friend made pretty much shaped how she felt about her whole day but I doubt whether the person on the other end of the line considered it to be that important – probably just another call, one of many. So it is essential that we guard against ever feeling this is just another mealtime or just another conversation because it isn’t – it is an opportunity for a Great Interaction which will leave everyone involved feeling better as a result.
Head of Operations