More than the Bare Necessities

If you’re like me, you probably dislike call centers.  I would rather do anything other than sit on hold listening to horrible music and hearing how important my call is to the people who aren’t answering.  Once they answer, it rarely gets better as the person on the other line begins to read to me from a script.  If I interrupt the script with a comment, a question, or (heaven forbid) a pleasantry the wheels come off the bus.  I am stuck with someone who has no idea how to converse with me like I’m a real person and tries to make the available script fit the situation he or she finds themselves in.  It’s painful for both of us and it is why I dislike call centers.  There are, of course, exceptions.  Given the nature of this blog, you can probably guess that Disney is one of them.

I have had the most wonderful conversations with Disney call center employees.  I never feel like they are reading from a script.  They listen to me, respond to the questions I am actually asking, and ask me questions about the experiences I want.  I also never feel like they are trying to get me off the phone as quickly as possible.  I once called to make three meal reservations and spent 10 minutes talking to the Cast Member about how fun it is to watch teenagers relax and enjoy themselves at the parks.  (Yes, Princess, we were talking about you!)  I also had a conversation with a different Cast Member about how the only song we ever heard when we were on hold was “It’s a Small World”.  Interestingly enough, the next time I called I heard the song from Haunted Mansion instead.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Needless to say, I love calling Disney.  I once had a Cast Member who just did her job in a professional and straightforward way and I felt gypped.

I spend one morning a week in a coffee shop which happens to be a gathering place in my community.  Very often people from other churches will come in and I eavesdrop.  As I listen to church people discuss church things it is amazing how much it sounds like they are reading from a script.  If the person they are talking to asks a question that isn’t on the script they flail and do their best to get back on the script.  Every time I see this happen, I watch the person they are speaking to detach from the conversation.  I have also, unfortunately seen this in my own church and it makes me question how I speak to people.

I know I read from an internal script much more than I should.  I also know I am guilty of not giving people my full attention and as much time as they need.  I do not always give people the experience that I want.  I give them stock answers and standard replies.  Not only do they deserve better than that, but so do I.  I am better than a script reading call center employee.  I do care about the people who come to me with their questions and concerns and I need to do a better job of letting them know that.  I don’t want to be a person that people either dread talking to or avoid as a waste of time.  I want people to look forward to talking with me and come away from a conversation feeling better for it.  I think we all do.

We need to step away from our church ‘script’ and say things like.  “That’s a hard question.”  “I can see how you think that.”  “I don’t know the answer to that.”  And of course, “Tell me what you think about that.”  We need to be brave enough to have real conversations with people that dig deeper into our faith and theirs.  We need to be able to make real connections in whatever time we have with someone.  We need to let people know that they truly matter.


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