In the world of Customer Service, it is advantageous to have a natural empathy for others, but emotions can be overwhelming. It even more important to develop strong Emotional Intelligence skills. Empathy is feeling the other person’s feelings, or knowing what those feelings are like. EI is understanding and balancing their emotions with yours.
In all areas of Customer Service, self-awareness is vital. Your actions, word choice, and tone impact those you interact with. For example, a customer service provider may grow impatient with people who aren’t quick to understand. That person may lack the self-awareness to realize that s/he grows frustrated when having to repeat.
When a customer is acting obstinate or rude, keep in mind that there are reasons for that behavior. Especially in these trying times, when we are fighting our own fears (in other words, when we are confronted with fight or flight scenarios), there is no way to know the stressors affecting the person you are dealing with at the moment.
A conversation can go many ways, but it is up to you to control your response, and remember that in the end, every customer just wants to be heard and understood. Control your reaction to their emotions–by focusing on your thoughts. Stay calm, breathe deeply and slowly. Listening, not reacting, is your primary job.
The all-important, and often-overlooked emotional components of customer service is to acknowledge the inconvenience suffered by the victim.
When you recognize the emotional harm from the inconvenience, you’re saying to the customer, “I get you, emotionally. Your feelings are valid to me.” Statements like these don’t necessarily admit that the business has done anything wrong (but if it did, we should own up to that fact). They simply allow and validate other people’s feelings.
The two sides of Emotional Intelligence are separate but connected. It is virtually impossible to respond successfully to others if we do not have a strong hold on our own emotions. Learning to maintain the balance of emotions will ultimately help you to better serve your customer.
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