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Ch2 - If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber
 

Ch2 - If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber

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In Chapter Two of If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber, you'll learn ...

In Chapter Two of If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber, you'll learn more about how to deal with angry customers, to reduce your stress, and save huge amounts of time.

The entire book, by Robert Bacal, is available at amazon in both print and Kindle format, or for more information go to: http://customerservice zone.com

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    Ch2 - If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber Ch2 - If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber Document Transcript

    • Chapter II — Understanding Hostile BehaviorWhy They Do What They Do – Understanding Angry, Hostile andAbusive Customer BehaviorChaptChapteer IIr II —— UnderUndersstanding Hostiletanding Hostile BehaBehaviorviorWhWhy They Theyy Do What TheDo What Theyy DoDo –– UnderUndersstanding Angrtanding Angryy,, Hostile andHostile andAbusivAbusive Custe Customer Behaomer BehaviorviorThink about some the difficult customers you have encountered.. What did they looklike? What did they do? What unpleasant things did they say?Here is an important question. What percentage ofnasty customers you face are nasty ALL the time,to everyone in their lives? If that percentage is high, let’s sayCAUTION!90%, it means that most hostile and abusive customers arethat way because of personality traits they bring with themNot Personalitywherever they go. If that percentage is much lower, it meansDon’t attribute bad customer behaviorthat angry, hostile and abusive customer behavior is to personality, since that’s usually not“situational”. In other words, it’s triggered by circumstances the case. Doing so puts you into apowerless and helpless victim place.and situations.If nasty customer behavior is a result of “personality”, thenwe are in trouble because we can’t “change the personalities of difficult or abusive customers. We’dall be helpless.Luckily, nasty customer behavior isn’t a result of “personality”. The percentage of nasty custom­ers who consistently behave badly all the time is rather small. That’s not to say consistently nastyhuman beings don’t exist. It’s just that they are in the vast minority. Most unpleasant customersCAN behave pleasantly and respectfully given the right situations.How about you? Have you ever lost your temper, yelled at someone, or made an obscene gesture?Maybe you have argued aggressively or pressured someoneto get your way? Of course you have. These lapses into ag­gression are part of being human. Wise Thoughts To PonderDoes it mean that you have some kind of personality defectStriking Out:or character problem as a human being? No. It means, thatHave you ever “struck out” verballyyou ARE a human being. So are your customers. at someone? Of course you have.Because of that you have it withinThat doesn’t excuse aggressive or hostile behavior, though you to understand angry customersthat’s small consolation for the recipient of the aggression. and be a little bit more understanding.What it does mean, though, is that your own angry behavior,just as with the angry behavior of your customers, is tied tothe circumstances or situation you are in.Page 11
    • Anger—The FeelingAnger refers to an internal state (it’s a feeling) experienced by the person. An angry person experi­ences physiological changes, some invisible and some visible. Here are some important thingsabout anger and angry people that will help you put customer anger in perspective.People choose their emotional states, although it doesn’tSnapshot always feel that way to them. Their feelings of anger, or forthat matter, any feelings, BELONG TO THEM. As such theWhose Anger? emotional state of your customers isn’t your direct responsi-All emotions belong to the person bility. That doesn’t mean you ignore the feelings. Customerexperiencing the emotion, and be-coming angry (or not) is a choice youemotions affect you through the angry person’s behavior. It’sCAN make. This applies to you as in your best interests to learn how to manage angry situa­well as your customer. tions.By recognizing that you can’t directly control the emotions ofanother person, you are better able to step back from their anger, and not get caught up in it. Whatis your responsibility, however, is to ensure that you don’t knowingly, or even unknowingly dothings that are likely to provoke anger unnecessarily.You need to accept the fact that customers will get angry. Customers have the right (just as youdo), to have angry feelings. What customers don’t have is the right to take the anger out in abusive,hostile or manipulative ways.It’s important that you become relatively comfortable with the notion that people will be angry. Ifyou spend all your time trying to make your every customerhappy, you are doomed to failure.Wise Thoughts To Ponder Angry BehaviorCustomers express anger in various ways. Some raise theirEveryone Happy? voices or become more animated. Others turn red, and throwIt’s impossible for us to satisfy andtantrums. Mild expressions of anger allow customers to ventmake happy each and every customer.You do your best, but sometimes the a little steam. As with the feeling of anger, be reasonable inbest outcome you can create is to terms of what offends you, and allow the angry customerminimize the impact of an unhappysome latitude in behavior before you deem the behavior un­customer. Agree?acceptable.There’s a clear reason for this. If you allow yourself to be of­fended every time you encounter angry customer behavior, you will be pretty darned miserable,and pretty damned ineffective dealing with those difficult customer situations. As you’ll see, theproblems you must address have to do with hostile and abusive behavior, not angry behavior.Page 12
    • From The Acceptable To The Non-Acceptable – Hostile and AbusiveBehaviorThere is a difference between reasonable expressions of anger (angry behavior) which is short livedand not aimed at you personally, and unacceptable behavior that we call hostile or abusive behav­ior. Not only are they different, but we may choose to handle these two different situations in dif­ferent ways.Hostile and abusive is intended, consciously or uncon­sciously, to have some or all of the following effects: Snapshot• Put you off balance• Manipulate and control you Thou Shalt Not Be Too Easily Of-fended:• Demean you in some wayAllow yourself to be offended every• Cause you to feel guilty time you encounter angry customer• Cause you to experience other negative emotions behavior, and will be pretty darnedmiserable, and pretty darned• Intimidate youineffective dealing with thosedifficult customer situations.It’s this kind of behavior that causes the greatest amountof stress for people who serve customers, because it in­volves ranting, insulting, and using intimidation tactics.Abusive behavior, because of the intent to elicit a reaction, involves pushing the buttons of cus­tomer service staff, making it more likely they will do something to makes the situation worse, notbetter.While you may tolerate some degree of angry behavior with­out being concerned, hostile and abusive is something youdo not want to accept. The primary goal, with abusive situa­tions, is to cause the abusive behavior to stop. Once that oc­curs then you can work to reduce the angry feelings of thecustomer, and address his or her problem. You cannot help aperson who is acting out or being abusive. It’s virtually im­possible. So, first stop the bad behavior (and we’ll teach youhow).There are different “containers for abusive and hostile be­havior, starting with verbal abuse.Verbal AbuseBet You Didn’t KnowFeelings & BehaviorThe feeling of anger can only harmthe person being angry throughphysiological changes. What we needto concern ourselves with in others isnot their feelings of anger, but theirangry behavior. The latter can hurtothers.Verbal abuse takes many forms, from very subtle, to the more obvious, “in your face” behaviors.When we talk about verbal abuse we include the following:Page 13
    • • Persistent swearing• Yelling• Sexist comments (both explicit and implied)• Racist comments (both explicit and implied)• Irrelevant personal remarks (e.g. about your appearance)• Threats (e.g. I’ll have you fired)• Intimidating silence• Accusations of various sorts (e.g. calling you a racist)• Comments about your competency, knowledge, dedicationThese behaviors are intended to demean and control. As you go through this book, you will learnsome ways to counter-control in the face of verbal abuse.Non-Verbal AbuseNon-verbal abuse includes manipulative behavior via body language, facial expressions, gestures,and physical outbursts like pounding on a counter. Unwanted physical touch/contact fits in thiscategory.Let’s make no mistake about this. Non-verbal abuse is intended to send a message to you, such as“I don’t like you”, or “I’m fed up”, or even “In my eyes you are worth nothing. Non-verbal abuse is alsooften used as an intimidation tactic. Here are some examples:• Standing in your personal space• Starting at you (long eye contact)• Table pounding• Throwing things• Leaning over you (using height advantage)• Fearsome facial expressions• Loud sighing• Pointing, other offensive gesturesKeep in mind that the customer showing these behaviorsmay not consciously intend them as intimidating or demean-CAUTION! ing, but that doesn’t lessen the effects or make them moreacceptable.Listen Up Cowboy:Unless you are a trained enforcementAs with verbal abuse, you want to take steps to stop thoseofficer, do not ever confront someonebehaviors. Later on we will discuss specific counter-physically, regardless of the size ofthe other person. No exceptions. measures you can use to avoid being controlled by these nonCheck your ego at the door. -verbal techniques.Page 14
    • The Extreme End – ViolenceWe can define violence as any action that is either intended to cause, or can cause physical harm toanother person, be it you, a co-worker, or other customer.Some actions involving physical contact, such as armWise Thoughts To Pondergrabbing or shoulder grabbing can be legally interpretedas assault, so we include them in this category, even ifthey cause no physical damage. Other actions, such as Behavior of a Four Year Old:Angry, frustrated adults often appearthrowing things, would be considered violent behavior ifto act like spoiled four year olds.there is intent to cause harm, or harm is done. Why do you think that happens?Think about it. We’ll explain it in theHowever, “acting-out” behavior such as ripping up pa- next chapter.pers and throwing them, or even sweeping things off adesk onto the floor are not “violent” within our defini­tion. Abusive, yes. Hostile, yes. Scary? Indeed!Generally this kind of violent behavior doesn’t come out of the blue but is part of a sequence ofevents that involves verbal abuse. By learning to defuse hostility, and verbal abuse, you are morelikely to reduce the potential for physical violence aimed at you. Learning to defuse customers canmake you safer at work.Your first priority is to ensure your own physical safety,and the safety of those around you. For this reason, mostSnapshotorganizations accept that you have a right to removeyourself from a situation, or request backup assistance insituations where you feel physically threatened. Focus on Behavior:Throughout this book, we will focusYou don’t have to be absolutely sure a physical threat on behavior, which is something weexists. Don’t take chances. can influence. Our first priority is toassist the person in halting the abu-One final and critical point. Unless you are in a security sive and destructive behavior. It isonly once that is achieved that you door “enforcement” type job, and properly trained to dealyour job of helping solve a problem.with violence, you should never willingly engage in anyphysical altercation with a customer. Even in extremesituations, where you see someone shop-lifting, it’s justplain dumb to pursue, confront, apprehend or get physically involved with the perpetrator, even ifyou have a significant size advantage. The reason is obvious. That slight, shoplifting teenager maybe carrying a weapon in his pocket. It’s not your job to run the risk, and you aren’t trained for it.Implications For YouLet’s summarize the implications for you— someone involved in customer service.Page 15
    • 1. While we all want people to like us, and not be angry with us, if we choose this as a goal, weare bound to be disappointed. Yes, it’s good to try to meet the needs of our customers, sothey are happier. Sometimes being liked just isn’t in the cards.2. Anger is an emotion that belongs to the other person. You cannot be responsible for chang­ing their emotions. It’s not a realistic goal. Hostile and abusive behavior is another story. Fo­cus your defusing efforts on reducing the amount and intensity of verbal and non-verbal hos­tile behavior. That is a realistic goal.3. In a later chapter, we’ll examine the idea that abusive behavior is about control. The hostilecustomer tries to manipulate and control you, your emotions, and your decision-making. Wewant to make sure we don’t allow this, or otherwise reinforce or “reward bad behavior”.Later, we’ll introduce specific ways to “counter-control”.4. You need to provide some leeway for people to express their anger, provided the expressionsare not demeaning, insulting, or manipulative. If you react to every four-letter word, cus­tomer twitch, or raised voice, you’ll go nuts, and you won’t be very good at defusing abusivecustomer situations. In other words, over-reaction, and over-sensitivity will end up increas­ing the amount of abuse you receive in these situations.Page 16