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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

The Power of Nice

Last week, my wife discovered the new Apple Watch she excitedly purchased to replace the one that suddenly stopped working wasn't compatible with the very old iPhone 5S she had been using.

The phone works just fine, but it's so old that Apple won't allow the software on it to be updated, which means it's not useful for any newer apps. (Perhaps I will debate the ethics of intentionally rendering a purchased product obsolete in a future post.)

I suggested that she check the Rogers website to see if any new-phone offers were available, and as it was, we found a 0% finance offer available for an iPhone 11 Pro Max.

We could have gone online and simply accepted the offer...

... but that's not really my style.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to negotiate, and I was convinced I could secure a better deal by connecting with an agent over live-chat.

And you know what? It worked.

I ended up not only getting the phone my wife wanted for the price listed on the website, but also a $5 monthly credit off my existing bill, an extra 20GB of incremental high-speed data at no charge, and a free Android tablet worth $200 that included two years of free cellular service.

How did I manage that?! Simple.

By being nice.

Poor negotiators think that you get what you want by being bullish, and aggressive, and borderline unreasonable. When I was younger, before I took a negotiations course as part of my MBA studies, I was all of that and more.

But the opposite is usually true. Especially when you're dealing with customer service representatives.

It makes sense when you think about it. Imagine your job was essentially to listen to people complain to you all day, every day. If that were the case, how would you feel about those customers who went out of their way to treat you nicely? You'd almost certainly want to do whatever you could to help them, because you'd want them to be better off than the turkeys who screamed at you for 20 minutes last week.

Being nice doesn't mean having to be a pushover. I'm not shy about stating what I want to achieve, and I'm unapologetic about sticking to my key points. I've just learned how to be really, really nice about it.

By the end of the call, I had gotten more than what I otherwise would have been offered, so I was satisfied. And the rep? He ended the chat with, "Thank you so much for your time and using Rogers Live chat today. You have been amazing to speak with. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye :) " The italicized, underscored sentence was his emphasis, not mine.

Making someone's day by being nice can be its own reward... but sometimes there are other benefits too.

When you have the choice, choose to be nice.

- dp


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