Nashville, TN

Nashville Area CEO Uses Fake Male Assistant to Handle Difficult Customers

Samantha Kemp-Jackson

Jandra Sutton's Viral Tik Tok Video Teaches Women How to Avoid Unpleasant Workplace Stress

A Nashville-area small business owner has figured out a way to deal with customers who won't take "no" for an answer. Jandra Sutton, whose TikTok video on the subject has amassed more than 1.6 million views, has brought to light a common scenario that happens to working women across sectors.

Her trick?

Referring difficult customers to her workplace assistant by the name of "Matt." The problem is, "Matt" doesn't exist. A figment of Sutton's creative imagination (she is CEO of a successful content creation agency, after all), this imaginary office worker seems to do the trick. And that's what it's all about when the going gets rough.

“So basically you just create a Gmail alias for your ‘male assistant’. My assistant’s name is Matt, named such because he is not a doormat, unlike myself,” Sutton advises.

In other words, the path to greater workplace calm is via Gmail and a creatively-named, non-existent male colleague.

Watch Jandra Sutton's Video Here:

A Century of Nashville Women Making History

Says Sutton about her imaginary coworker's attributes: “Matt” handles “any negotiations or difficult conversations that I don’t want to handle personally, and he is very good at his job." From her Instagram post, she expands on the usefulness of having an imaginary assistance, offering one reason that female workers should consider it.

"If you struggle with confidence via email, you may want to try this trick!"

Source: The Independent

Justice Department Settles Sexual Harrassment Lawsuit Against Cumberland County, Tennessee for $1.1 Million

Workplace Harassment Not Uncommon

According to a 2015 study, workplace harassment was not uncommon. For women surveyed, all admitted to experiencing a range of behaviors from others, from verbal abuse to bullying and even unwanted sexual attention. And while these details are attributed to collegues in the same place of employment, they're made worse when these female employees have to deal with unacceptable treatment from customers as well.

CHART: How Often Do U.S. Workers Experience Abuse and Harassment? You will find more infographics at Statista

How to Deal With Unhappy Customers

For those who have no choice but to deal directly with customers, there are some simple tips that they can follow. According to a recent article in Forbes, being customer-centric means following certain practical steps to manage expectations and calm down an irate customer. Some of these strategies include:

  • A focus on personalization
  • Making customers' lives easier
  • Digital transformation resulting in ease-of-use for the customer
  • Proactive use of data
  • Innovation and pivoting (where required)

These strategies could indeed be employed by Sutton, or any woman who feels that their interactions with dissatisfied or angry customers is causing unecessary stress. Indeed, while many support the tactic of using the imaginary male assistant, there are some who feel that this method of coping is a far step backwards for women. As one commenter on Sutton's Instagram page decried:

“No! No don’t do this - this just continues the cycle. This is just catering to a man’s world.”

With 195,694 female-owned businesses in Nashville, it's likely that some of these company owners may consider pretending to have a male assistant. Or perhaps they've already done so, and are (hopefully) reaping the benefits of having an imaginary man take control of a less-than-kind patron who can't control their anger or disgust. Either way, it's questionable as to whether this business strategy will work, especially since the cat's out of the proverbial bag, at least in Davidson County.

Still, responses to this tact are mixed, as evidenced by further comments on Sutton's Instagram page.

“I don’t use an alter ego, I am a professional woman and I refuse to be treated less than such, but I do say, this is a brilliant idea,” says one commenter.

Said another, who thanks her own personal "Matt" for her transformation: “I used to do this but I stopped. I gained confidence from being ‘Matt’ and now can exert the same energy as me.”

Different strokes for different folks, they say. What may work for one my not work for another.

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I write about Lifestyle content with a focus on Parenting, Society and Trends. I also talk about how things have changed on my podcast, "Parenting Then and Now."


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