The Carousel Culture Podcast

We work hard to create an amazing company culture. Listen as we explore the subtle details of what makes Carousel an amazing place to work!

EP005 - Empathy with Amber Ward

Show Full Transcript...

JJ Parker: Amber, you sent me a thing that you wrote of probably like a year ago that you thought would be like an interesting topic for the carousel culture pod. it was about empathy.

Amber Ward: Oh, that I wrote in 2017.

JJ Parker: quite awhile

Amber Ward: Yeah, it was when we were sort of getting our guiding principles and core values and everything sort of.

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: Like

JJ Parker: So,

Amber Ward: little bit more.

JJ Parker: so ex tell, tell us what you're out. Like what was, what's the gist of you wrote in that article?

Amber Ward: Okay. Let's see here. I need to refresh my brain. Okay. So it was sort of about the whole idea of putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Right? We all know that story. And I'm being the best guide you can be. Right. So, it, it all came about because I'll go into what I wrote in a bit, but the reason I wrote it was at one point we sorta there, sometimes there can be chatter in our Platforms we use to communicate back and forth where you might be like, ah, this person, this customer, yada, yada, whatever, like you're having issues with some bloody and

JJ Parker: you're being very delicate and

polite. Frankly, people complaining about our customers in slack,

Amber Ward: sure. But, but there's

nothing wrong with that.

JJ Parker: did this and that. and blah, blah, blah. Right.

Amber Ward: Sure. And there's nothing wrong with that because sometimes I don't mean like nothing wrong with feeling that way. Right. That's what I mean. There's like everybody, if you're bearing the brunt of grouchy people constantly all day, you're going to get frustrated and that'll come out somehow.

Right. But what when I see that, it's not like I'm trying to be who's goody two shoes. Don't talk about people, blah, blah, blah. But My, my thought was whenever I would see those things is a, it tends to spread like bad mold, right? Like, so as soon as one person says one thing and then it's like, oh yeah, blah, blah, blah.

And there's like a back and forth, and everybody's getting all fired up about this one person. Right.

And then also just with. Social media stuff in general, like, don't write it down, call somebody, you talk about it over the phone or whatever, but like, just in this day and age, there's so much ugliness that can, you know, angry employee copies something and sends it.

You know what I mean? Like, I would hope that nobody would ever do that, but you don't, we don't. Sometimes we only have people at the company. You know, X amount of time, we don't really get to know them. You don't know what could transpire, so not good to like, put that thing down and then be able to have it copied out everywhere.

Right. Cause also sometimes those things are like, you're fired up in the moment and you don't really think

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: things you say sometimes, you know, if you do say someone's is an idiot. Well, maybe in that one moment, because of the one thing that was said, you feel that way.

JJ Parker: Yeah. Right.

Amber Ward: maybe you don't,

JJ Parker: Yeah,

Amber Ward: but

JJ Parker: well, and some

Amber Ward: out of

JJ Parker: you're right.

Like sometimes when you're, when you are like really kind of emotional or triggered about something things you say are more a reflection of you than they are of like maybe at the customer.

Amber Ward: right, right.

JJ Parker: taken out of context, people would be like, oh yeah, whatever support team.

Their really mean something, but they're

Amber Ward: Right, right, right. But they're not no. And yeah, so anyways, I wrote that article that sort of talked about imagining imagine you're an astronaut, you focus on your craft. What's the goal. The goal is training to make it to Mars and back safely. Now if you were to have problems there. We wouldn't expect that that same astronaut should know how to fix the spacecraft when in trouble.

Right? Like they're equipped with the tools, but they call mission control, right. To get all the information that they need to make sure everything is fixed properly. Right. And the idea there is that. Our customers have bigger issues to deal with on a daily basis. And so when they encounter a hiccup, it throws off their day and this is where we sort of step into their shoes and understand that like, okay.

This person has to get, like, let's say they have an event, right? There's a big event happening and their signage isn't running and now they're mad at us. Right. So it can be frustrating and scary for that person because you're like, ah, I'm going to lose my job. I told, you know, the president that all of a sudden it would be up and blah, blah, blah.

So they can't do their jobs. So they call us for how. Which can alter their mood and put a bad taste in our mouth. Right. So they're calling and they're all lifer. And I will give you an awesome example this, because back in the day, when I worked at an access center and my teammates who ran cable cast, if he was away, then it was my job.

To figure out whatever was going wrong. And I'm sure Brandon, if you give Brandon a call or anyone else, like maybe, maybe Grayson was there

at the time, like Amber is calling and I would be so grouchy. Like I know I was not happy. Like, you know, whatever, because I had to do my teammate's job, which was not my job.

So I didn't even know what to do. Right.

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: trained on it. So was just trying to fix it so that my boss didn't yell at me. Right.

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: so that always made me feel really bad for the support team after the fact, because I was like, Ooh, I was one of those people and I can guarantee you, there was like Amber calling.

JJ Parker: Well, it's a good example of. Like anyone who has worked with you for the like whatever, it's been 10, 15 years, can't actually even imagine you being grouchy. But you were in a situation then Colleen art, art, a cable cast support team, like kind of grouchy

Amber Ward: Well, right, because, because I was

JJ Parker: Sierra, like.

Amber Ward: I was in a position where it was out of my control. Right. So I was getting very what's the word, like,

JJ Parker: yeah. Anxious.

Amber Ward: frustrated. Sure, sure. Like, I was just like, oh, like I can't do this. Like they, you know,

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: that's what happens with a lot of our customers. Right. Sometimes they call in and maybe they haven't had training yet or whatever the case may be. Or even at that, it might not have anything to do with that.

Maybe somebody's parent just passed away or they got bad news of something


JJ Parker: And there's so many times like, there's, there's a lot of times in my like, experience where someone's bank kind of like at me, or.

it's just rubbing me the wrong way and I get super air. And then later to find out they had some like major thing going on in their life. And then I just feel like an asshole,

right, For like being like, oh, why are you so mad at me? Like,


Amber Ward: Because you

JJ Parker: Um,

Amber Ward: the first person they talked to since

JJ Parker: yeah, like, right. Yeah. Everyone's got their own


Amber Ward: Right. Right. And sometimes, sometimes people just have, for lack of any other better solution, a bad day, right?

JJ Parker: Just a bad

Amber Ward: you're


JJ Parker: okay.

Amber Ward: out on the wrong side of the

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Amber Ward: Let's just hope some people are just drinks in general. Some

JJ Parker: Excellent.

Amber Ward: but There's

JJ Parker: Some yeah. And,

Amber Ward: reason.

JJ Parker: and may, you know, and even if they are a jerk for no reason.

right? Like don't take on that energy, right. Like, Like whenever I see like someone like in traffic, You know, like cutting people off and, know, acting, like a jerk, like on the highway. Right. Like if I get cut off by somebody or whatever.

so like getting mad about that, I always start like creating a story, like, oh, they're probably in a rush because

their wife is pregnant. Yeah. Like.

Amber Ward: You got to get to the hospital.

JJ Parker: yeah. They're like, like they've got something way more important. I'm just driving home. But you know, they are trying to save, know, someone from like a burning building or, you know,

Amber Ward: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

JJ Parker: Um,

Amber Ward: and I

think too, like,

JJ Parker: like, keep that perspective right, And try

Amber Ward: right, right, right. Well, I think

all, we, we all want. Our customers to be happy and succeed. Like there's not one of us that are, that does not want that. Right. And I don't know. Just imagine if you can be the, the smiling face on the other end of somebody's bad day, maybe you'll be the one that turns their day around,

JJ Parker: Yup. Yup. And sometimes that's hard to do, right? Because we've got a lot of workload. We've got a lot of customers to get through. The grumpy ones really have a unique ability to derail us, but

just trying to S

Amber Ward: I'm sitting here talking about it when I'm not the one that has to be on the phone with grouchy people. But I think that like, cause like you said, like you've encountered people that have had a day and you're like, oh, and you let that ruin your day. But I think like hearing this and knowing to keep that in the back of your mind go, okay, well maybe this person is.

Not the greatest day, like reminding yourself that when you're in that situation can like put you back in a different place. Right.

JJ Parker: Yep. Yeah, And, and I like your tip too, of like, we'll, we're all going to encounter people that are going to kind of trigger us. And instead of just going like on a random bitch Fest on slack, maybe you just do call up like, you know, your favorite. Teammate, like, I'll call you and then we can just talk about it. right?

And just like, get it off my chest and then help me process through it. Now, then I can go back to the customer and be more empathetic. Like,

like I know you have taken calls like that for me, where I just needed to complain about a certain airport customer.

Amber Ward: Yeah. It's just like you really, especially in those positions where that is what you do all day and like, you can be bombarded with so much negativity. Like you got to get that out. You got to talk about it because I think like mentally,


JJ Parker: part of the

Amber Ward: you just need to, yeah, yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker: Yep. Well, cool. This is a good conversation because I know. yeah.

we do want to help customers be successful. And we, we do, we all have experienced being kind of on the negative end of the customer's mood and that does affect us. staying mindful staying up pathetic and then coming up with like ways to kind of like processor that and move on and not not stay attached to that negative energy. And make sure that we're staying centered and not

Amber Ward: Right, right,

JJ Parker: like affect our mood too much.