Would you rather be friendly or right?

A friend of mine works for a tech startup. 

He tells
me that whenever the company interviews candidates for their customer service
positions, the last question on the list is as follows.

Would you rather be
friendly or right? 

It’s an interesting concept. Especially in the black and
white world of tech support, when frustrated and impatient users just want

But I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, why does it have to be
binary decision? When did we decide that every question could be answered with either
yes or no? 

all, polarized mindsets keep us from expanding our sense of possibility. 

Personally, I would rather be friendly than
right. And here’s why. 

First of all, friendly is one of the few things in the
world that costs nothing and changes everything. It lays a foundation of
affirmation. It diffuses customer defensiveness. And it helps ensure a positive
impression that’s left after the interaction, regardless of whether or not the
problem is resolved. 

Secondly, if you lead with friendly, customers are more
likely to be receptive and understanding of the information that follows. Even
if it proves they were wrong and you were right. 

Lastly, if a tech support
representative is friendly and kind and easy to talk to and a joy to listen to
and delivers a service moment bundled with surprise and delight and value, then
right or wrong is neither here nor there. 

I’ve been a volunteer at my yoga studio for several years, answering phones and checking people in at the front
desk before and after class. And every time there’s a problem, whether it’s a
botched credit card payment or a lost water bottle or a coupon code, I choose
friendly over right. 

Because in a city where customers expect their retailers
to be cold, rude, fast and all knowing, the smallest thing can feel like
magic to someone who’s been living with a problem. 

Next time you pick up the phone to troubleshoot, place the caller’s
desire for friendly over your need to be right. 

Customers want real
human moments, not one more nudge in the direction that you have decided they
need to go. 


Are you telling people what you want them to know, or considering what they want you to understand?


For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  



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