Being a Travel Agent, Expat Life in Dubai

The ego states.

January 20, 2013

I have not been blogging lately because work drains out my energy in so many different levels. It’s been really busy the past few days and it’s not even the peak season yet. The boyfriend asked me what’s the average number of clients I handle everyday and I told him between 12-17 and it may sound less to you but for every client that we handle there will be a minimum of 30-min consultation depending of course on what they want. Not all of the clients we encounter are easy to handle though some are just downright psychopaths. The customer service industry is a tough job to take specially if you’re living in the middle east but I have learned how to handle these psychopaths. A lesson which is actually already out there but I have never tried it ever until now. Have you ever heard of that Parent-Adult-Child ego state? No? Watch the video for your little psychology lesson about it. If you’ve heard about it then skip the video and read on.

I was sent to a leadership training by my previous employer which discusses this particular subject and while I was in the training, I thought it was full of sh*t and that I will never ever apply it in my job. You see if you have worked or are working in the customer service field in Dubai, you’ll know that if you show the slightest fear or submissiveness to your unreasonable client then you’ll be eaten alive by them. They’re like zombies and the only way to deal with them is to fire your gun at them first before they try to eat your brains out. It stresses me out more though everytime I play that card, the client is distressed and so am I. I was so pessimistic about it, until now. So what I’ve been doing lately is I change my perception of the person in front of me and play whichever card they want me to play. It may sound like a cliche but it does work.

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Scenario 1:
The aggressive blabbermouth. You know the likes of people who won’t stop talking to just brag about how much they know about a certain place to make them feel superior than you because they know better than you do? They won’t let you talk either. They are the ones who ask so many questions at you and you’re not even finished with your answer to their first question and they’re already throwing another one at you. You know the kind? Well they do irritate the crap out of me. I mean if you want to know something then f*cking listen you idiot! And if you already know what the answer to your question is then don’t f*cking ask, moron! Anyway, I recently had that kind of passenger and I was THISCLOSE to putting a balled-up sock in her mouth just to make her shut up. Anyway, while she was being arrogant and all, I took a deep breathe to calm my palpitating heart down (seriously) and just let her talk. I pretended that I was listening to her intently, occasionally nodding my head in approval and saying “really?” if she wants to show-off something to me but what I was really doing at the time was thinking what I would have for lunch. I think I actually had lunch already in my head with dessert while she talked non-stop in front of me. In the end, she thanked me for being a great help and that she appreciates it. I think all they really need is for someone to polish up their ego for them and I did it successfully for her. I believe at the time, I played a gullible child who will believe to whatever kind of made-up stories a parent would tell me.

Scenario 2: You know those clients who doesn’t know anything at all? Who went to you clueless of what he/she wants? Well ok, they come to us for advise with regards to their holiday plans but the least you can do is to at least know where you want to go right? And because they don’t know anything about what they want they will give you some really out-of-this-world request like a 2-week holiday vacation to Maldives in a 5-star property with a private pool and full-board meals all for 20 freaking thousand dirhams. I wanted to ask him if he’s living in a make-believe world where Maldives is that cheap. It would’ve been really ok though that he would demand those things because he didn’t know anything about it but to match his ignorance with an attitude? That really pulled my strings. He came into the office with all the arrogance in the world like he owns the place or something and I really do think he was expecting me to bow down to “his highness” as a form of greeting. Since he was becoming a child and fantasizing about something as ridiculous as that I became a parent and pulled him back down to the world which we all know as reality. I was very patient in explaining the reality to him and also very careful not to bruise his ego but in my mind, I was laughing my ass off and pointing at him while saying: “this clown wants to go to Maldives with all its luxuries with a 20k budget!!!!” Anyway at the end of it all, the 2-week holiday became 6 days, the really luxurious 5-star property became a down-to-earth 5-star property, the private pool became a private terrace which looks out to the sea and the full board meals became half-board. He was happy in the end.

Scenario 3: The b*tch, those kind who just want to b*tch about anything and make you feel so little about yourself because that what makes them feel good. The worst b*tches in the world I think are those who were originally from a third-world country but was able to acquire a first-world passport for reasons I don’t really care much about. A lot of people working in the customer service industry will agree with me on this. Normally I would become the bigger b*tch but I recently found out that the best way to deal with them is to not give a damn about them. Act like you don’t care. Sit there like you’ve got no feelings and actually, just really turn off every single reaction that your mind will suggest for you to do. Trust me, this works like magic because the more you don’t care about them the more they become irritated because their ego is getting more bruised for you not caring at all. In the end, they will feel like an idiot which is what they truly are and you will feel good because you didn’t stoop down to their level and in the process of it, was able to ruin their day because you irritated them more than they irritated you. Now this 3rd scenario is not really a part of any ego state but I’ll include it in my official ego states and will call it: the i-don’t-give-a-sh*t ego state.

The kind passengers get the royal treatment. Those who doesn’t demand so much gets more from me. It’s that simple. How about you? How do you handle different kinds of people at work?

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