stress

Bank on Higher Level Service - 9/25/18


In the recent Bloomberg article “Some banks are giving tellers more to do and better pay,” a Goldman Sachs survey is highlighted. It notes how more and more people are going to digital means to find answers to questions through self-service, and then they go to tellers or a Read more

Relate - 9/18/18


People tend to be drawn to people that they can relate to in life. Steph Curry is not 6 feet 8 inches and 260 pounds, built like granite. He's about 6 foot 3 inches, but on a basketball court he looks kind of like a guy who you might Read more

Dealing with the Issue of Blaming - 9/11/18


He who cannot dance claims the floor is uneven. A bad workman blames his tools. Blame is like the lightning; it hits the highest. Let's talk about blame. Often in the world of customer service, we are responding to an issue or a complaint, and usually there is a cause for that Read more

Play Ball with Your Customers - 9/4/18


We typically conduct 35-40 surveys a year for the sports industry. And while you may work in a different industry, there are lessons to be learned by the types of research that sports organizations seek and why they seek that information. First, we design and deliver many pre-event surveys. This Read more

Avoid the Greatest Tragedy in Customer Service - 8/28/18


The greatest tragedy is indifference. That statement is attributed to the American Red Cross, and it applies to the world of customer service as well. The first requirement for consistently great customer service is caring about those you’re serving, and caring and indifference are polar opposites. It’s tough to be Read more

Make it OK to Sell the Parrot - 8/21/18


This has been said so many different ways. I've noted how an attitude cannot be like a light switch, where you turn it on with your customer and you turn it off when you’re with the co-worker. Last week’s Tip discussed how communication is like water rippling in a Read more

Water Rippling in the Pond - 8/14/18


You drop a rock into a creek, and you see the mini waves created. You watch a golf tournament, and a golfer dumps a shot in a lake – and it ripples. You see a water sculpture with a basin below, you toss in a penny to Read more

Take Away Their Worry - 8/7/18


One summer, Janet was given a new chore. She had to take out the trash and recycle bins to the street every Tuesday night so that they could be picked up Wednesday morning. She would go out around 7 or 8 o'clock at night, take the bins out, Read more

Unleash Your Persuasiveness - 7/31/18


Sometimes the facts are not enough. The customer is irate, or they don't like the alternative you're suggesting. You need them to do something, and they want you to do it. They need to do options A or B, and they want to select imaginary option Z. You need to Read more

Vive La Différence! - 7/24/18


Even though my last name is French, I don't speak French. So despite this Tip’s title, this Tip will definitely be written in English. This Tip is about understanding differences and benefiting from those differences. Here are some scenarios for you to consider… There's a difference between Read more

In-the-Moment Stress Relief – 3/20/18

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


It is totally understandable why anyone would feel stress as a customer service representative. You may be dealing with complaints constantly. You have the internal pressure of making a quick call while adhering to a 2-inch binder’s worth of policies. You can hear the pain, the anger, and the urgency in the customer’s voice.

You are asked to juggle information, technology, empathy, procedures, and the uncontrollable – the other person.

I can’t provide every answer that will help you alleviate stress in the next 200 words. That would be unrealistic. But what I can do is offer you some quick tips on how to deal with stress in-the-moment:

  • Don’t think of a horror that might occur in the future. Stay in the moment. Focus on what IS instead of the negative what could be.
  • Breathe nice deep breaths. Let your breathing settle your heart beat.
  • Ask the other person questions more than feeling like you have to react with the perfect answers. The questions buy you time and provide you with information.
  • Remember how similar situations turned out well in the end. Remember that you have gotten through this before, and you’ll get through this, too.
  • Think about how to help the other person more than how the situation impacts you. Moving your thoughts away from how it affects you and toward helping others reduces stress.
  • Write down the facts you are learning during the conversation. Documenting is an activity that occupies the mind and the body.

When you’re feeling that in-the-moment stress, utilize these practices to calm yourself.

Use self-care to reduce stress.

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How to Keep Your Cool – 2/6/18

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You’ve had a rough day. It seems like the complaints keep coming. You want to work through your projects, but you find yourself fighting fires instead. And then you get that call – it’s a customer with another complaint or your boss with another urgent request, and you’re going to lose your cool…but you can’t.

You have to take the call. You have to help the other person, but the more they talk or gripe or pull at you or pick at you, the more your temperature rises.

In times like this, remember the BBB technique:

  • Breathe – This can be one of the best things you can possibly do in times of stress. Deep breaths in, hold for a couple seconds, then breathe it all out. Make sure it doesn’t sound like you just ran a sprint, but let the breathing keep your body in check.
  • Break – It’s often a good idea to ask the person if they could hold for just a minute so you can do some research or tell them you need to briefly check on something relating to their topic. Once they’re OK with it, put them on hold – literally take a break (even if it’s just 30 seconds or a minute). It gives you time to gather yourself, to think to pause to breathe, and it even may give them time to settle down. When you come back on the line, immediately thank them for their patience.
  • Get Back-to-Basics – Focus on the facts; ask them for details. Have them tell you the basics – what happened (or what do they need) on what date, at what time, sent to what e-mail address. Literally write down what they’re telling you, and confirm it back to them. When you’re focused on data and they’re focused on data, emotions tend to dissipate.

 
When you feel the heat and your temperature is rising, get your cool back.

Employ the BBB technique.

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‘Got to’ v. ‘Get to’ – 3/7/17

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I was at a community collaborative meeting in Charlotte recently, where 100+ representatives of different organizations gathered. They were from local governmental, not-for-profit, and private businesses. Large and small organizations were represented…

As a part of a brief exercise, the meeting facilitator asked everyone to stand and to get into groups of 2-3. She asked them to tell the others in their group one thing that “they have GOT to do this week.” The conversations ensued, and after 4-5 minutes, the facilitator wrapped them up.

Then she asked them to tell the others in their group one thing that “they GET to do this week.” The conversations began, and the energy in the room (and volume!) picked up dramatically.

It was an interesting exercise as a participant and observer. There was a general sense of stress or worry in the first conversation. In the second conversation, there was more laughter, more noise, more smiles, more positive body language.

In a few cases the “Got to” matched the “Get to.” For those people, it’s especially positive to them that what they’ve GOT to do this week is also something that jazzes them and excites them – it’s also something they GET to do.

It’s great if you’re in a job where your “Got to’s” are naturally “Get to’s”, but if you’re not in that situation (or at least you don’t think you’re in that situation), consider a mindset shift.

Instead of “I’ve GOT to talk to this griping customer,” it’s “I GET to bring some sunshine into this person’s day.”

Instead of “I’ve GOT to deal with all these impatient family members waiting at the hospital,” it’s “I GET to offer some comfort and confidence to others.”

What are your “GOT to’s?” Find ways to look at them positively. Find ways to make them “GET to’s.”

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