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Just Breathe – how to cope when the heat’s on

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘the customer is always right.’

Behind closed doors, this may not always be the case but as a business owner, manager or customer services representative, it’s the number one rule you need to follow.

By doing so, you can try to defuse a potentially tricky situation and, if you don’t succeed, you can at least walk away with your head held high and your dignity intact. Take a minute.

You may not have all the facts but the best possible outcome is for you and the customer to feel okay about the outcome, for any interested onlookers to see you and your team are professional under fire, and for the customer to tell their friends – not how angry they are but how great your solution was and how well you responded to them. Have your endgame in sight.

However it’s not always easy to keep your cool in these sorts of situations, especially when the customer may not be right. This of course can mean tempers may flare.

The person in question may also be firing nasty words your way or blaming you personally for something that has gone wrong somewhere in the transaction. This is where it’s difficult to keep calm and not put your hackles up.

Here are some things to remember when the situation becomes potentially hostile.

It’s not all about you.

First and foremost, don’t take it personally. The thing to remember is that it may not even be you or your business that set this tirade rolling.

Some people wake up on the wrong side of the bed, with everything turning to custard from the moment their feet hit the floor in the morning. You too have had these mornings.

Dropping everything you lay your hands on, hitting every red light on the way to the office, spilling coffee down your crisp white shirt. It’s often that one last moment in someone’s day that will tip the scale and whoever comes next is just unlucky to be in the firing line.

You were here once.

You know what it’s like to get your knickers in a knot when things just aren’t going right.

Practise understanding and try to see the situation from the customer’s perspective. At the same time, you need to remember that you’re the one who can help here.

Take your time in listening to the customer; in fact, it’s best not to say much at all until they’ve got it off their chest.

You will notice that this will actually give them time to calm down and blow off steam but will also allow you the time to understand the situation, take accountability and respond decisively.

Knowing the whole story and having more knowledge about the customer and the scenario will allow you to make an informed decision on what can be done next.

Smile, don’t smirk.

Maintain poise but don’t be arrogant. Stay positive and don’t let your personal emotions get in the way.

Remind your client that it’s going to be okay, because it is. By remaining fearless and maintaining confidence, your client will regain confidence in you.

It is you after all that they are relying on to fix the situation. You can be the hero in this. Almost everything we do in life comes down to our attitude and this is no different so be as accommodating and encouraging as you can be.

It can be a game changer answering the phone or being confronted with these types of situations. Your day can instantly be flipped upside down.

It’s important not to let it affect you too much. Always try to ensure that the transaction ends on a happy note and that all parties are satisfied.

By doing so, you will actually walk away from the situation feeling elated rather than deflated and your customer is likely to return.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to contact us.