Thanks to DISH for sponsoring this post.
The true measure of a successful company is not based on how it responds when things are going right, but how it responds when things are going wrong.
The same is true of people. It’s easy to do the right thing when there are no pressures on you. When the boss is happy, when all the services are working, when the kids are peacefully napping, it’s easy to be a good person. But the challenge comes when things are broken; when the boss is unhappy, when the rent is late and Junior’s birthday is tomorrow, and when the kids are cranky and won’t go to sleep so you can get that last bit of work done. If you can keep it together then, when everybody else around you is losing it, then you have something to brag about.
So how do you do it? What can you do to be ready to handle the days when everything goes wrong?
There are a few things you can do to keep your calm in the face of overwhelming pressure.
- Put it all into perspective. Nothing that’s going to happen to you today can compare with, say, being on a ship at sea that is sinking into frigid waters after colliding with an iceberg just off the coast of a land inhabited solely by cannibals. So hey, what’s to worry? If you boss is yelling at you, just remember the fact that you have a boss to yell at you puts you ahead in today’s economy.
- A crisis is only a crisis if you don’t have a plan to deal with it. As John Bender said, “Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place.” With that as a given, we need to have a plan for when the screws fall out. First step of the plan is to check the screws frequently and tighten any loose ones. A crisis is easier to prevent than manage. In the event we miss a loose screw, be ready to deal with it. If the car won’t start in the morning, what are you going to do? If you have a plan, you won’t feel as stressed out.
- The more you know, the less you stress. Know your weak areas. Know the chinks in your armor, and know how to deal with them. If I’m driving a car with bald tires, I’m going to plan for a flat by making sure that the spare is there, aired up, and that I have all the pieces of the jack. I’m also going to make sure that I know where the tire is, and how to change it. At 2AM, discovering that the spare is stowed under the truck and requires a special configuration of the jack to lower is a stressful situation. Knowing these things ahead of time can save you 45 minutes of frustration. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
- Take ownership of the problems. This one sounds a little strange, so let’s talk about it for a minute. If you are having problems with your day, and you blame it all on external factors, what control do you have over the situation? None! You are a helpless victim of circumstance, just along for the bruising ride. I don’t know about you, but I hate being helpless. Nothing stresses me out more than not being able to fix a problem. So when things go wrong, instead of looking for somebody to blame, and ranting and raving about who’s at fault, I use my time and energy to find a solution. I don’t care if the traffic jam was caused by an idiot texting while driving. Instead of fuming and sitting in traffic, I find an alternate route to my destination. My problem is not his mistake; it’s that I have to be somewhere. I can solve my problems; he’ll have to deal with his on his own time.
- Finally, communicate with others who are affected. Call somebody and let them know what is going on and, even more importantly, be willing to ask for and accept help. If things are going wrong, use your resources to get them back on track. Don’t be a hero, or a martyr; instead, just get the job done. By letting people know there’s an issue, and the steps you are taking to deal with it, any potential delays will not be a crisis for them, since they’ve already incorporated it into their plans. With communications, you prevent a crisis from cascading down the line.
These techniques work for individuals, companies, and more to the point, customer service representatives, which is where DISH Network comes in.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a problem with my receiver. Even though everything looked right, we could not get the DISH Online service to work. It would connect to the receiver, buffer the video, and then the screen would just remain blank. The weird thing was that I could still use the video controls. I could pause, and the timer would start running; I could skip ahead or skip back, and then I could go to Live TV. All the controls worked correctly, but there was no video or sound.
So I grabbed my tablet and fired up the DISH app and tried it there and got the same thing.
Now it was time to call tech support. I chose the chat method of contacting them mainly because it is hard to type with an accent, which makes the instructions so much easier to understand. By the way, DISH has customer support available 24/7 over the phone, through chat, Facebook and Twitter.
I connected with the service rep, and gave her the basic information about the issue. I explained that we had already tried multiple computers and tablets and verified that the problem occurred regardless of which browser we were using.
Now here is the really cool part.
She was prepared with a troubleshooting script to work on my problem (Rule 2), but had enough knowledge to modify the script based on the information I gave her (Rule 3). When you are already frustrated by a piece of equipment that isn’t working, causing your wife to miss an episode of her favorite show, Duck Dynasty, you don’t need to be told to walk through a bunch of steps you know won’t fix the problem.
Even better, from the symptoms I described, she recognized what the problem was, explained that it was a bug in the software that was being addressed in an upcoming update (Rule 4) and told me how to address the issue if it occurred again. (Rule 5)
Within a few minutes, my wife was “Happy, happy, happy!”
Whatever that means. I just saw a lot of guys with huge beards.
Maybe I should grow one…
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