There is a fine line between being alone and loneliness. The moment at night when both kids are in bed, the husband is at work and even the dogs are snoring is my ahhhh moment. The silence truly is golden, it allows for my “me time “ and a chance to decompress, get my ducks in a row, and organize my to-do’s. I am alone, but I am far from lonely. There have however been occasions that I have been in a room full of people, with conversations being had and interactions galore and yet felt that I was on my personal lonely desolate island.
My mental health is as fine as it gets, I promise that there is a lesson here.
In our industry, or any customer facing industry for that matter, we battle with finding that sweet spot between giving our customers the space they need while making sure they don’t feel abandoned.
Think back to a time that you had a less than stellar dining experience at a restaurant. You were seated, had a moment to figure out your drink order, and then sat. And sat. And sat some more. Finally the wait staff noticed there were people at their table and approached. The server was friendly, brought your drinks, took your order, returned to serve you and then disappeared. Drink glasses sit empty, ketchup nowhere in sight, and you have resorted to eating your soup with a fork. Your server abandoned you. You feel forgotten and rejected. You have not only received bad service, but lonely service. Compare this feeling to one where your server checks in to make sure the food is satisfactory. Glasses get refilled, and finished plates removed. The server leaves you alone to enjoy your meal, but ensures that your dining needs are met.
As service providers, it is our job to make sure that we give our customers the room to shop, peruse and decide, all while remaining accessible to answer questions or assist in finding a resolution.
How do we find that optimal balance between being an extended warranty telemarketer and an apathetic cohort?
Customers can be needy. They either need your help right now (sometimes they don’t even know it yet), or they need you to leave them alone. Practice what I preach and you will find that your customers can embrace the alone time without feeling lonely.
With that, it’s time to go find a quiet closet with wi-fi.
Ahhhh, alone time.