Customer service can be tough. It's easy to take a bad interaction with a customer personally. Discover how to productively process your emotions using the Q-Tip technique and positive self-talk.
- A participant approached me at a break during a workshop. My problem, she revealed, is I take things personally. I know it's not about me when customers attack but still, I make it personal. She's not alone. A lot of us personalize things when we're dealing with difficult customers. Here's how to know if you've taken things personally. You've gotten emotional, maybe that's getting upset, maybe it's an increased heart rate. Or maybe you felt fed up with customers who try to get over on you or your company. And you don't feel like giving them anything because they don't deserve it. The good thing about taking things personally with customers is it says you care. You're fully vested in what you do. Taking things personally can become a problem though. If you find that you're often resistant to helping unreasonable customers, or if you've ever felt verbally beat up after an interaction with a customer, you need an intervention. And that's what this video is. An intervention to help you not feel like a doormat. I held a round table with an escalation team at a company in Tulsa. This team handles the most complex issues and the most unreasonable customers. I sat down to talk to them to learn how they avoid taking things personally. Like when a customer yells or curses, or talks down to them. I'd like to share with you the top three things they told me helped them with dealing with the most challenging customers. One person said she practices Q-Tip. Q-Tip Therapy, she explained, stands for quit taking it personally. Whenever she got a really challenging customer on the phone, she'd remind herself to quit taking it personally and that it's not about me. She even had Q-tips on her desk to serve as a visual reminder. Another person emphasized the importance of putting yourself in the customer's shoes. If I was the customer and this happened to me, I'd be upset too. This empathy, she told us, helps her to understand where the customer is coming from. And I loved this advice, from the most senior person on the team, no knee jerk responses allowed. This lady told us she always waits one or two seconds before saying anything when she's feeling tense or upset. Here's something I heard in a workshop years ago. Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your grandmother, and don't use a tone or take an action that you wouldn't take with your grandmother. I love it. And I think this advice can help us all keep our emotions and reactions in check.
- Recognize examples of pushing when dealing with a customer.
- Summarize the goal of reframing conversations.
- Identify the benefits of using partnering language.
- Determine the best response to a customer who asks to speak to a manager.
- Identify statements that can be used to acknowledge a customer’s issue.