People Skills Blunders: When Ego Sinks You! | #PeopleSkills #CX

People skills blunders happen when your ego trips and sinks you. It can happen when interacting with customers and you get frustrated that they are not accepting your explanation. And it can also occur when you are disagreeing with teammates and/or colleagues. Yet the good news is that these people skills blunders are not inevitable. Here is first-hand story that I witnessed in real time that teaches us how to avoid ego-driven people skills blunders.

People Skills Blunders: Image is bicycle slid off road.

People Skills Blunders: When Ego Trips You Up & Sinks You. Image by Zach Dischner via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Zach Dischner via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Ego-Driven People Skills Blunders

Every so often I write a first-hand account of people skills blunders — without names of course — to share people skills tips from real-life situations. This is one of those blog posts.

The Story

I was on line in a post office and the customer in front of me had stepped up to the counter for his appointment to get a passport. He had a little baby with him and a brace on his arm. He had arrived 10 min prior to his passport appointment per the instructions. The post office staff member told him he couldn’t have his appointment because they were short-staffed. Customer said: “Now you tell me? I got a babysitter for my other daughter at home and you had my phone number on the form. Why didn’t you call me earlier? Staff member said: “Sorry, but you can go to the next town. They have appts open. We just checked.” The customer wanted to speak more. He repeated what he had already said. I could see the staff member’s frustration rising. He wanted the customer to just leave and go to the post office in the next town. Unfortunately the post office staff member lost his patience. He said: “You know we could cancel you even one minute before the appointment if we wanted to!” His ego tripped him up and BAM — a people skills blunder. The customer dug in his heels even more. He eventually left yet it was a customer service failure overall.

When Your Ego Trips You Into People Skills Blunders

As I witnessed all this, I could see that this post office staff member does not know how to handle difficult moments. His ego took over and made the situation worse. So what is a better way to handle this situation?

First of all, be very aware when your frustration is rising inside of you. Are you feeling panicky that you may never get this customer to go elsewhere? If yes, be careful. Your ego is about to trip you into people skills blunders. So instead of giving into it, empathize and apologize again. For example: “I do apologize. And I will share your suggestion about calling sooner with management. I see we have truly inconvenienced you and I am sorry. I do want you to be able to get your passport. If you are willing to go to the post office in next town, I will call them and tell them you are on the way so they can be ready for you.”

While you are apologizing and giving empathy, your ego will be silent. Moreover, the customer hears that you have listened to him, that you are sorry for the trouble it caused him, and you are willing to call ahead to secure an appointment in the next town.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
15 Not-So-Obvious People Skills Truths to Work & Live By

©2023 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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