Motivational Speaker’s Words that Work: I’m Surprised…

Have you ever been extremely upset by something only to have a customer service representative ignore, minimize or discount your frustration?  And how inclined were you to want to continue doing business with them? Not so much, right?

I had an incredibly frustrating experience while trying to get a live person on the phone with AAA.  After a long day of travel, my rental car broke down late at night in a parking lot in Jacksonville, FL. It was raining, I was hungry, exhausted and on hold for 20 minutes, when the call dropped and I had to start all over again.  After ANOTHER 25 minutes on hold, I finally got a live person named Steven.

Color me VERY annoyed by this point.  I tried to let the young man know that I while I was NOT upset with him personally, I was HIGHLY frustrated that I had to hold for a total of 45 minutes! In the pouring down rain! With no food!  And no help from the company I was PAYING money every month to be there when needed!

After a pause he said, as if he couldn’t believe it, “Mrs. Larsen, you were on hold for 45 minutes!?!”  I said, “Yes! I was!”  To which he replied, “Wow. I’m surprised you are not more frustrated than you are!  I think I would be furious!”

Huh?  He understood? He agreed?  He got it?

I said, “Oh, Steven. Would you marry me please? I do love you.”

Brilliance.  Sheer brilliance.  He took an extremely UNHAPPY customer and, with a few little powerful words, turned her into a very HAPPY one who will sing his and AAA’s praises for a long time.

Words that work:  “I’m surprised you are not more frustrated than you are!”  Try ’em. You’ll like ’em.

From your Happy Motivational Speaker, Linda Larsen

Helping people bring their finest, best & happiest self to life!






Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. You are so RIGHT Linda! I wish people in customer service realized that we don’t expect them to perfect – and we do know that sometimes things happen – but I just want them to at least acknowledge that I have a right to be upset and simply saying “I’m sorry” would go a LONG way. But then when they don’t say they are sorry – or even address the fact that we have been wronged – or go so far as to act like they don’t care – that’s when my blood boils. As a motivational speaker I tell people that we can’t afford to lose customers in today’s economy. And the fastest way to do it, is to miss these tiny little opportunities to address the customer’s concerns.

  2. Excellent post, Linda. Empathy is key to gaining connection and this dude was spot on. You needed a motivational speaker by your side during that experience, but sounds like you found one on the other end.

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