In this current environment of overwhelming volume, lack of support, long hours and pushy, sometimes unsympathetic customers, there’s a good chance you may have blown your lid unintentionally a time or two.
It may have been justified. It may have felt good. Heck you may have even received an apology after you, “set them straight.” BUT it is important to recognize that those interactions with your customers that are putting you over the edge, like the question, “Why is this taking so long?” OR the annoyance of receiving 3 texts, 4 voicemails and 2 emails ALL from the same person in a period of 15 minutes, or the frustration of wasting hours on the bossy rate-shopper who also happens to be a repeat customer who you thought was loyal to you, are ALL the same challenging situations you’ve always faced in this industry.
The only thing that’s really changed is YOU due to the insane workload and unusual work environment.
How you’re attending to your own physical and mental health during these intensified levels of stress will directly affect your ability to effectively solve problems and respond rationally to challenging situations. Some basic best practices that can help you immediately decrease the effects of stress are: getting a solid night’s rest, staying hydrated, eating nutritious meals and snacks, exercise and short breaks in order to decompress.
No double about it, regaining your patience and your poise will always get you farther than putting on those verbal boxing gloves, so next time when confronted with a tense situation, try one of these three options for harnessing your cool and defusing heated interactions with customers and referral partners.
- Don’t take them all!-You can say, “no.” I’m sure there are several deals right this second you can recount where you knew in an instant that it was going to be ALL bad. Trust your instincts and give yourself a break. Your sanity is worth passing on a few.
- Don’t immediately respond/react-When faced with an accusation or rudely posed question or insult, wait 5 seconds to answer and say, “I hear what you’re saying, let me put you on a quick hold while I get to my office and sit down so we can discuss this, give me a minute.” And then place them on hold and get your head straight and take a couple of deep breaths. You’ll be amazed at how this short interlude will diffuse not only your anxiety and upset, but your customer’s as well.
- Repeat what is said-Most times in the heat of the moment, people will say things without much thought. It’s important to mirror back to them what they just said, so next time you’re hit with a judgement statement, insult or accusation, wait 5 seconds, then reply, “What I just heard you say was,…. In mirroring back what was said, the person will likely be surprised and even a bit ashamed of their words and will rephrase their question or comment and adjust their tone.
Remember, even when you’re right, blowing your top or, “setting somebody straight” adds zero value to your day or to your business, plus it’s the only thing the person will remember about working with you and worse will be the ONLY thing they tell other people about their experience with you.