Monthly Archives: February 2012

To scream or whisper? An old farmer knows the answer

“Words that soak into your ears are whispered…not yelled.”

This quote came via email from a friend this AM. It’s one of many pearls of wisdom listed in the email. Their origin is a farmer who spent his life mewling over such precious thoughts while seated on the back of his tractor.

I had an opportunity to find out for myself how real and effective this bit of advice is. It was one of those days when you could have witnessed me yelling, “where’s the #$%$ easy button!” I had two niggling issues with different businesses I needed to resolve. Both were cases of errors made by some inattentive person at their desk causing me extra time, inconvenience and frustration to fix.

When contacting the first business to resolve issue #1, which I no longer remember, I used the standard method normally applied when some corporate nincompoop messed up and still blames me for making them put forth effort to correct the situation. I yelled; she blustered back. I think the situation was finally resolved, but we both had higher blood pressures and headaches at the end of the call.

I took a break, ate some lunch – probably a good idea as low blood sugar could have added fuel to my fire – and contacted business number two. This I remember very well. It was my insurance company. They were denying payment on one of my prescriptions stating I had used an out of network doctor.

I knew very well that was not the case and that this same insurance company had paid for this very same prescription several times over. Taking a deep breath, I politely inquired of the person on the other end of the phone if they would be willing to help me solve a mystery. Her reply was an emphatic, “yes!”

Within five minutes, we had worked together to solve the puzzle. It was a simple typo on the prescription number. Once corrected, the reimbursement arrived within a few days. Rather than creating an enemy already on the defensive, and therefore extremely unwilling to be helpful, I had created an ally who was intrigued and willing to help me solve the puzzle. We both had satisfied smiles on our faces at the end of the transaction. I’ll take that over raised blood pressures and headaches any day!

I discovered just how far whispering rather than yelling can get you. Such simple wisdom expounded from an elderly farmer on the back of his tractor – but oh, so true!

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