Thurs. Theory: Throw the Phone. (how NOT to react to angry customers.)
The silence that followed only amplified his words, adding force to his wrath as the recollection rolled through my brain. How could anyone be so intentionally mean? It was the kind of misplaced anger that made my stomach feel sick and shaky, the kind that I knew I could never stop because it was so much bigger than me.
Ever been there? I hope not. Should you ever be on the receiving end of a “hit-and-run” phone call, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. It isn’t personal.
By the time this customer has picked up the phone, their anger has built up steam to the point where it blows right past logic and reason. The first person who comes in contact with them is going to bear the brunt of their meltdown, no matter if that person was remotely connected to the issue or not.
2. There is a point to the tantrum, so listen.
It’s really best to let them air their grievances – they’ve been working on this argument for a while, and like a freight train, it won’t stop easily for a single person (unless you are Superman…or Mr. Incredible). Somewhere in the middle of their rampage, they will reveal the real problem, and you need to be a miner of sorts as you dig out the truth from the rubble.
3. Be Firm!
One of the biggest mistakes I made this time was trying to solve a problem for someone that was not in my area of expertise. If you aren’t 100% confident as you listen/offer suggestions, you will undermine yourself. There usually is someone else who can help out in these situations that will diffuse it much better if they have more knowledge of the problem.
4. Start throwing punches.
Yes, I am serious, and I forgot to mention that you should throw punches at a punching bag only…no people please! Sometimes, even when it isn’t personal, it is, and you carry those ugly words with you like a weight for the rest of the day. Find an outlet like kickboxing(!) to help you calm down and clear your head.
*Disclaimer* The first(and most productive) outlet to take should be through God. I know He alone holds my cares and brings justice. Do I always act that way? No, but I’m working to remember that He doesn’t ever desert me, even when I forget about Him.
Until then you will find me at the gym 🙂