When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every other shot, every other hole, was an emotional challenge. My attitude suffered, and my score suffered.
These days, I rarely play golf, but when I do there is so much less negative emotion involved after every mistake or every missed shot. Even though I miss-hit a lot more shots than I did when I was playing and practicing, one bad shot does not automatically lead to another. One bad hole does not automatically lead to another.
The difference is partly attitude, but it is also self-control. Self-control has a huge effect on an employee’s success in customer service as well.
It’s very difficult to talk to people via the web, via the phone, face-to-face, and via text, and to be consistently good if we allow one bad encounter to get to us. In customer service, it’s difficult to deal with the angry customers (and the occasional crazy customer!) if we allow that interaction or that one word or just that person’s “way” to influence what we do the rest of the day.
Self-control means making sure that we are listening to our bodies and monitoring our thoughts in these difficult circumstances. It means trying to stay loose and open mentally and physically despite the tension that surrounds us.
Having self-control is about controlling our emotions, being able to get through our initial reactions and – instead –respond in a way that is not knee-jerk. Having self-control means talking positively to ourselves when we’re getting ready to go into difficult meetings or hop on calls with customers who we know have issues. That level of self-control and managing our own emotions will help us to manage our part of the conversation that much better.
The idea is that bad stuff is going to happen in the business world just like I’m going to hit the shot out-of-bounds or I’m going to miss a 2-foot putt in golf. But if you have self-control, bad circumstances do not frustrate you as much. When you do something wrong, you’re not is likely to get angry with yourself, and when bad things happen at one point, you’re less likely to allow those situations to snowball throughout the remainder of your day.
Get in the habit of doing some self-monitoring of your thoughts and emotions so that you have the self-control you need to not let one bad apple or one bad encounter lead you into a bad day.