A wee word of kindness makes all the difference…

Kindness, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘friendly, generous and considerate’, made a huge difference to me this week. In the light of the many hours and days of struggling with the vagaries of BTs so called ‘advisors’ sorting out what would have seemed to be a simple problem, I psyched myself up to go through the same frustrating process with Vodafone.

The problem was similar in that I was unable to access details of my monthly account which I was paying by direct debit. For some reason they could take money out of my account but I was unable to find out what for.

I decided to dedicate a whole day to the problem so that I would not become annoyed or upset by the length of time it was going to take to get it through to a

robot that I wanted to talk to a human being. I was not going to become despairing or cross if they did not phone me back or call when they said they would and I was going to remain calm. I poured myself a large mug of frothy coffee, sat down with pen and paper to hand and logged on.

My first encounter was, of course, with Vodafone’s ‘Digital Assistant’ called TOBi. I posed my problem in as simple language as possible to which TOBi replied with a list of other possible problems, none of which were remotely relevant to mine. I persisted with my question which seemed to result in a kind of robotic hissy fit in which he repeated what he had said before only more so, plus several answers that had no relation to the issue at all. I allowed him a little cooling off moment, then typed in a polite request – could I please speak to a human. To my astonishment I was instantly given a number to phone and without hanging on too long I was speaking to a real person who listened to my problem. I was then spoken to with understanding, consideration of my hearing difficulties and ignorance of technology. I was treated with great kindness and competence – they had obviously been trained how to talk with people who couldn’t hear very well.

It took some time but the problem got sorted. The lovely thing was that each person I talked to knew about the situation and I didn’t have to repeatedly explain what the problem was. Unlike BT, the left hand knew what the right one was doing! We even had a few laughs and chats as if I was an okay sort of person even though I am old. When, in the end, it was all discovered to be my fault, no one said a thing…

In these, what are to me, baffling, technological times, kindness and consideration makes such a difference. After the BT experience I was left disillusioned, cynical and feeling ancient. After putting down the phone from Vodafone I felt a lightness of step and a much better feeling about the world.

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