Ever heard of the zipper rule? It’s a phenomenon when two lanes become one and rather than fighting to be first, cars let one another merge in one at a time. It’s really a win-win scenario, and everyone feels good, too.
There are lots of kind and caring people who snap into feeling extraordinarily entitled when they get into the driver’s seat of a car. What is it about that steel cage around us that makes us feel, well, a little passive aggressive? We need to stop and think about the feelings of the other drivers around us, and remember that of course, they want to get to their destinations quickly, too.
I want to be the kind of driver who follows the zipper rule, and when my kids learn to drive someday, I want to teach them to follow it too. In fact, we should all follow the metaphorical zipper rule and learn to put empathy into practice in all areas of our lives. There’s no question: the world needs more of it.
Here’s another area of focus that perhaps needs an extra dose: customer service. In order to create a positive experience for clients and customers, we need to treat them as we would like to be treated. With respect, helpfulness and caring. If a customer is upset, try to understand why. Ask, listen and show that you care.
We strive to provide that kind of service here at Verdin. It means enough to me and my team that we work it into our core values. Empathy is the unspoken piece that makes loyalty, integrity, strategy, commitment, innovation and enthusiasm work together to deliver a service that truly benefits our clients. It’s what makes for partnerships that matter. When we engage empathy in our approach, our work comes from a place of understanding.
Whether it’s a customer, another driver, a family member or a friend, people want to feel special; they want to know you support them.
Did you know that you can rewire your brain to be more empathetic? That sounds like a great New Year’s Resolution to me, and here’s a place to start…five simple things you can do to build empathy into the pathways of your brain:
Try to listen more than you talk. (We do have two ears and one mouth, after all!)
Open the door, with a smile, for someone who has his or her hands full.
Stop and wave a driver in front of you so they can pull from a driveway onto the street when there’s a line of cars.
After someone lets you in, wave and smile! It feels great to do someone a favor.
Volunteer! There are many wonderful nonprofit organizations in our county. Find one that supports a cause you care about, jump in, and make a difference.
And finally, follow the zipper rule. It’s good for all of us. Let’s bring the world a little more empathy, one car at a time.