I've been trying this thing for awhile now where I try to force people into being on the same plane of authority in situations where they are typically the ones who have to solve my problem. Now when I say problem, it could be anything from a hostess that needs to seat me to a verbally battered airline service rep that's already dealt with fifty stranded travelers. So, I'm using the word "problem" loosely.
The thing is called a handshake.
And you know what... it's disarming!
Yesterday, I noticed that my AT&T bill was incorrect. I'd upgraded part of my service (due to a text-crazy-Jane) in mid-month, which prompted five strange charges that were supposed to be pro-rated to the days of the outgoing and incoming plans. Long story short; they boffed it and owed me $19.
AT&T: When I called, I got the usual fast-paced mumbo-jumbo resulting in, "Can you please verify your account by giving me your ______?"
Me: I responded with, "Yes, I can provide that information, but I'd like to say hello first. My name is Robert Roth, how are you doing today?"
AT&T: "Oh, I'm fine Mr. Roth! How are you?" the service agent replied suddenly caught off-guard.
Me: "I'm great, thank you. The verification you requested is ______."
She listened to my problem, took the time to understand it and within minutes we'd worked out the solution. I verified the credit through my online account and we wished each other a great weekend.
Read about the other Handshake Project experiences.