Listening to customers — Quotidian — 003

(Transcript of video originally posted 03 Jan 2021)

When dealing with customers, when interacting with prospects, when providing support to those that you serve, keep this important thing in mind always, said my boss, a few years ago. That’s what I intend to share with you all today.

If you look at these boxes here, ISTJ, ISFP, ENTP, ENFJ, … there are sixteen such boxes! Two scientists, researchers, named Myers and Briggs, did a psychological profile of thousands of people from various walks of life… way back in the 1950s. They tried to find out if there were a finite number of personality types — and they concluded that there were sixteen such. They called it the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Millions must have taken the test since then (it is even available online for free!), and over time, it has lost its sheen too, and a few even question it for its veracity. But, what’s important is that you know that there is a concept such as that, and we are just going to focus on only ONE of those sixteen — titled the INFJ.

INFJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. A person with the influences of these four “qualities” is titled an INFJ. If you were to be dropped into a specific situation or scenario, your reactions would stem out of these four starting points. You are a Feeling-person. You use the Heart more than you use the Brain. You don’t just Perceive. You want to pass a Verdict, pass a Judgement all the time. So, this makes you highly sensitive, you don’t open up much, you end up getting the label “You are taking things too personally” all the time.

The customer might bark at you for some reason… The product isn’t performing well, there is a bug in this functionality, something is broken here, etc.. And you “take it personally” and feel as if it is you yourself that is broken! You go home. You cry. The next day, the dark heaviness is still weighing down on you. So, this is what my boss said. As an antidote to the INFJ. He said, “Develop a thick skin”. In fact, this advice isn’t suited just for customer service… It could be about the people in your home, the teacher you are taught by, the colleagues you work with… Stakeholders — of every ilk. Whatever you produce, there will always be people who are in a position to criticize, talk about, pass verdicts on what it looks like and how it feels. Consumers. Customers. Colleagues. Partners. Competitors. Critics. To deal with these people successfully, … my boss said.. “Develop a thick skin”. If you develop a thick skin, like the one on the proverbial “Delhi buffalo”, whatever torrential rain beats down, it will still stay immobile in eternal bliss, eyes half-closed, in the middle of the road… Develop a thick skin, he said.

I first thought it was the buffalo he was referring to. But, later, I googled around and looked for the animal with a thick skin.. thickest skin.. the animal with the thickest skin… The whale, with all its blubber, is of course the winner.. But that is underwater. But, among land animals, the thickest skin belongs to the elephant.

The word “pachyderm”, referring to an elephant, stems from Greek terms “pachy” (meaning “thick”) and “derm” (meaning “skin”)! It is pretty thick too. 3.8 centimetres at some places! But my research didn’t stop there. There was something beautiful hidden just out of sight. That’s when I realised that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, whenever my boss tells me something! Much to discover, if only I dug a little deeper.

Why thick skin? Why elephant skin? Even if it is 3.8 centimetres thick…, even if it is thick enough to withstand the assault of a spear head on, even if it is impervious to arrows shot at it, (it is the elephant force that goes up front… for it can tackle all kinds of weapons thrown at it)… have you seen how an elephant, first thing after a fresh bath at the riverside, throws trunkfuls of dirt back on top of its body? Guess why? A mosquito can actually suck blood through this 3.8 centimetre skin! How? Because there are a lot of gaps in between. That is why, even though its skin is so thick, the elephant is supersensitive, it can even sense a mosquito sitting near its ear.

So, that then, is the speciality. Don’t just develop a thick skin! Also be sensitive for those micromessages! That’s the important lesson for today! Thank you!




​Welcome to Quotidians — a humble attempt to bring a smile to your face… as I connect the commonplace everyday nuggets into meaningfully connected insights.

Recommended from Medium

Owned, paid, and earned media channels

8 Social Media Etiquette Rules for Business Save

How to Create Pillar Content To Help Boost SEO

Big Marketing Mistakes that Small Business Owners Make

A full beginner’s guide to Pinterest for marketers

Stop trying to pick habits that last after COVID and plan your product roadmap already


“ Million Dollar Training Inside “Start as a Pro , Sounds Great, isn’t !

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Rajendran Dandapani

Rajendran Dandapani

Business Solutions Evangelist at Zoho Corp. President at The Zoho Schools Of Learning.

More from Medium

What is Knowledge Management and why do we need it?

Accelerate Digital Transformation with Automated Analytics

Project Management Organization Chart Template

Project Management Organization Chart Template

How to Apply Routine Problem Solving to Your Business Problem — Sequential Analysis