It started off badly. I took a phone call from a sales rep who talked really quickly and wanted me to sign up on the spot for the unbelievably-amazing-super-duper-offer. My spider senses were tingling, and I backed off and used the great pause button, "I must talk with my husband."

Not taking 'no' for an answer she persisted - "Shall I call him for you?" (got to admire that kind of tenacity!) I had a pretty good idea of what he might say to that ('bugger off' comes to mind). So I refused and she promised to ring me back the next day to get an answer.

Rob's response was what I expected, "they're all schemers and scammers". (He's a lawyer - they are suspicious of everybody!) But we agreed if the deal included discounts on hotels in Canada and the US, then we were in. Ok I could handle that.

After more to-ing and fro-ing, I agreed to sign up on the proviso that I had a ten day 'cooling off' period.

But I had a weird doubtful expectation - Rob's pessimism was wearing off on me and I was wondering if I really had been scammed...(and since I know that we get what we expect I shouldn't have been all that surprised with what happened next).

The package turned up, and sure enough it wasn't what I thought I had bought. (And because they don't send you any written info on the package all I had was my rough notes). So I rang up to clarify. It turns out there were no discounts on US and Canadian hotels, but there was a frequent visitor points system thing I could redeem overseas. Since the whole reason we agreed was for the discounts, I felt I had bought something under false pretences.

The very helpful customer service dude assured me someone on the sales team would get back to me within three days to see if they could help me out further.

Two weeks later, and two weeks of Rob pestering, "have those schemers rung you back yet?", nothing.

By now, I was pretty keyed up over the whole thing. I was bracing myself for a fight. Clearly they didn't want to honour the agreement.

Long story short, after several conversations with the customer service rep, and then the sales rep, and then back to customer service, my blood was boiling and I was ready to maim small rodents and gnaw chicken turds with the angst.

Knowing there was no possible resolution in this state of mind, I looked for ways to shift the vibe. So I turned to facebook (ok not ideal strategy to vent your spleen on facebook, but I was desperate for a shift.) I made a general appeal for advice:

"Experiencing extremely poor customer service from a hotel service company -am extremely frustrated!!! Trying to shift the vibe - any tips? (I just want to wring their necks and spank them!)"

And that's when the miracle occurred.

As soon as I wrote 'spank them', I had a little giggle. The image of spanking the sales rep was pretty silly - and pretty far from kick-down-doors-foot-stomping-rage I had just moments before.

That was my doorway out of the feel-bad vibe.

It was only a toenail crack opening in the door of my resistance, but that's all I needed to pivot and change direction.

And then the customer manager called me (I had forgotten all about them as I was laughing about the suggestion from a friend I could spank them instead). The customer manager was kind, helpful, friendly, understanding, compassionate, apologetic, and gave me what I wanted - the refund.


So this is where I bring all the learning all together (in case you were wondering about the spanking analogy):

1. Monitor your expectations. I picked up Rob's vibe that all telemarketers were out to rip you off, and I didn't set a better intention instead. ("I only attract people and services that are for my highest good' might have been better).

2. If caught in a funky situation, notice where you are contributing to it. Part of me was loving the drama, the gearing up for an altercation, of being the hero in my own story, good guy versus big corporate bad guy...

I've done drama enough to know that it ends with everyone losing an eye. Or at least a bit of ego. Good reason to try another approach, and let go of fuelling the fire.

3. If stuck in bad-vibe funk-out, shift it! For me it was the use of the word 'spank'. The response on facebook added to my feel-better vibe - the conversation is still going! Right now we're spanking Brad Pitt and Tony Abbott. Haha! I don't even care about the incident anymore, the spanking convo is hilarious!

And that's when you can let the good stuff in - when you are feeling good. Not when you are pushing for a result, or struggling or battling.

And my other customer service tip: if someone wants a refund, just give it to them. You'll do far more to keep the goodwill by honouring their request than trying to keep the sale.

Coach's Challenge:
Whose expectations are you picking up? Where are you getting hooked by drama? How can you shift the vibe? If you've got other vibe-shifters, please share them with me!

Author's Bio: 

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Author Zoe Routh works with women in business to enhance their personal effectiveness and leadership capacity for global effect. For free tips on how to become a more effective leader that will save you time, money, energy, and stress, go to