Who should ‘win’ tug-of-war over attending a workshop?

Dancing the PayCheckChaCha

Service Provider asks:

What can I say to convince my supervisor that a ‘Customer Service’ workshop is a waste of time?

I provide excellent customer service – but he decided I need to attend this workshop because of just one complaint, and he won’t even tell me who made the complaint! I know what customers need and provide it with a high level of skill and dedication. I believe the complaint came from a person who wanted me to go way outside company policy to give them a refund, and complained when I explained that I couldn’t do that. Can you give me something to say to keep me from wasting time on a worthless workshop when I could be doing my job?

PayCheckChaCha chatters:

The words you need to change your supervisor’s mind are, “It will be a waste of money for you invest in me with this workshop because I don’t respect you enough to follow your suggestion, so if I go to the workshop, I’ll go with a negative attitude.”

That’ll get you out of the workshop – and a whole lot more.

You may well be right about the complainer. It could have come from somebody who doesn’t want to admit that you were just following a reasonable company policy.

Now that you’re reaffirmed that you’re probably right, why not relax and attend the workshop with a smile on your face?

Opportunity is Knocking

As an excellent provider of customer service, you know that constant reinforcement is needed to stay on top of the service game. You said you know what your customers need, which is great – unless you ‘know’ your customers so well that you’ve stopped really listening to them. A workshop might be just the thing to help you maintain (or even recapture) your edge.

The guy who wants to send you to the workshop is one of your key customers. If you can make this important internal customer happy just by listening to service principles for a few hours, then you’ll derive considerable benefit from the day.

To build the customer relationship with your boss (with the valuable side-effect of helping you keep focused on what’s truly important), be sure to send him an e-mail after the workshop outlining two or three points that you plan to apply from the workshop. It won’t matter if you already knew the points – the purpose of your e-mail is to demonstrate your ability to assimilate well-intended feedback.

The value of workshops isn’t to pick up brilliant new ideas that will change your way of thinking and doing things. A professional skills workshop pays for itself when you leave with a couple of existing strategies reinforced, a couple of reminders of things you already knew but may not have been remembering to do, and a couple of things you can examine from a slightly different perspective – giving your open mind an opportunity to see something brilliant on your own.

If you enter the workshop with a positive intent to participate, collect some ideas, and re-dedicate yourself to being the provider of ‘service extraordinaire’ – then you can have fun and be rewarded.

Please copy me on that post-workshop e-mail to your boss – I’d like to help you celebrate your success! But if you decide to use the ‘don’t send me’ strategy, just leave me off the distribution list – I dislike the sight of blood.


Benjamin Disraeli said, “Great services are not canceled by one act or by one single error.”

E-mail your workplace concerns to PayCheckChaCha@AccidentalCareer.com.