Customer service resilience – riding the waves of emotionality

Have you found that as market and job uncertainty creates additional pressure on people, emotionality has increased in the workplace and employees are subject to poor behaviour from clients, suppliers and even peers or managers?

One of our clients noticed this trend and has engaged us to build the resilience of their customer facing staff and managers.  We were challenged to make the learning “fun”, so we’ve developed four key lessons using the language of the surf (with accompanying loud shirts and leis):

Lesson 1: “Duck, don’t fight a big wave”.  When someone is emotional, they won’t listen to reason, so these people learn to hear an insult or angry voice and say, “This is not really about me, it’s about my role / the product / the company”.  Thus, they were less likely to get angry or sarcastic in return and could focus on successfully pointing their clients towards the “shore”.

Lesson 2: “Watch for the end of a set”.  They learn to listen for the underlying concern or pattern and to watch for the ending of a tirade. They practiced using the magic word “OK” to express empathy, rather than “Yes, but”ing their client and facing a new wave of anger.

Lesson 3:  “Get prepared in the lull”.  They learn to make co-operative suggestions in the calm between the angry waves, e.g. “what we can do is…”, “what our options are…”.  They also learned to minimize the tendency to say “no”, by exchanging it for “I’d like to help you and ….”, or the softer ending, “…and just not now”.

Lesson 4: “Keep getting back on the wave”.  They learn to take a no from the client in their stride and to focus on the progress they were making.

The benefits are happier, more confident team members, who can stay focused on client outcomes and can joke about difficult clients and shrug off the emotions quickly.

If your team is suffering from emotional dumpers, consider a two hour Hawaiian escape session.  It’ll be fun and it works.

Give Paul or Sharon a call to arrange a no-obligation, feel-good, discussion.

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