reaction at the time, but if you are not aware of your
own feelings, you may fail to provide the best service
to this person. You may not really like this person, but
your awareness of your own feelings can allow you to
use this experience to improve your own face-to-face
skills and to make sure your performance as a PN is
not adversely affected by this customers negative
You must also be aware of your feelings regarding
a previous episode in which you had to deal with a
difficult customer. You can be sure you will remember
the customer who gave you a rough time on a previous
visit. Do not let this memory affect your response when
you are called upon again to serve this customer. Do
not be surprised that you may feel like saying, Sure
Ill help you. Ill help you jump over the side. But, do
not say it! Showing your feelings may give you some
temporary gratification, but it will not solve your
problems with this customer and it will have an
adverse effect on your performance.
Some personal reactions you may experience will
not be that strong. In fact, they may be very mild and
will perhaps be caused by unconcern or lack of
interest. Unfortunately, these attitudes can be just as
deadly to customer satisfaction. Everyone possesses a
feeling of self-worth. If you, the PN, should deny this
by showing a lack of concern or interest, the customer
may show the same attitude toward the Navy and its
representatives as a defense.
Stereotyping is forming a standardized
oversimplified mental picture of members of a group.
Stereotyping involves a fixed or general pattern that is
attributed to the members of a particular
groupdisregarding individual, distinguishing
qualities or characteristics. In stereotyping, we form
mental pictures of people, things, and events according
to the classification or group in which we feel they
Consciously or unconsciously, we may have gone
to a lot of effort to build up these stereotypes in our
minds to make it easier to classify people. Some of
these stereotypes may carry such labels as race,
nationality, sex, religion, length of hair, and many
others. Stereotyping eliminates the need for us to know
the person as an individual. How convenient it is to
have these ready-made niches in which we can place
the person and thereby know all about them. But
what an injustice this is! This implies that the person
is no different from anybody else in the same group or
category. This in itself is bad enough, but it is even
more offensive when that person is placed in a
category that we regard as inferior, and we, in turn,
reflect this opinion in our attitude toward the customer.
Study figure 1-11. Notice how this figure points
out the difference between a mental picture that is a
valid aid to communications (second picture) and one
that is an unwarranted stereotype (third picture).
Mental pictures are important because they are a quick
way of conveying messages, but you must be sure they
really fit the individual before you apply them.
Therefore, knowing that stereotyping individuals is
not consistent with the Navys expectations, you
should not stereotype individuals.
Communication requires more
Communication involves a sender,
than just talking.
a receiver, and a
message that is understood by both individuals. The
sender must first be able to select the words or visual
signals that accurately cover the desired meaning and
then make sure the message is fully understood by the
receiver. However, all responsibility does not rest on
the sender; the receiver must listen to what is being
said. When interference (lack of understanding or
distractions) garbles the message, the receiver should
ask the sender to repeat the message or provide an
Misunderstanding information may be worse than
receiving no information at all. Not understanding
something can result in disappointment, frustration, a
missed opportunity, or an improper action by the
receiver. As a PN, you must be especially aware of this
You will sometimes feel that you can almost see
the earplugs in a customers ears. What you are saying
is just not getting through. You may tend to shrug it
off and think, I did my part. Its not my fault the
customer wouldnt listen. Are you sure that you did
your part? We do not think so. This customer came to
you for information or advice and did not receive it.
Any one of several causes, such as the following
situations, could have interfered with your message:
. The customer was vague about the particulars
of the problem.
l You used unfamiliar terms or slang.