Here’s a simple strategy to keep your cool when dealing with an angry, flustered customer:
Picture him or her as a small child, “happy and running on a playground,” says Jenny Dempsey, customer service manager for phone.com and co-founder of Communicate Better Blog. “We were all kids at one point!”
Dempsey stumbled upon this tactic when she and her were trying to squash negative self talk — you know, “I hate my thighs,” “I’m a moron,” etc. Her friend gestured toward her young daughter, Sofia, and told Dempsey to replace all those “I’s” with “Sofia.” Sure enough, Dempsey could never disparage the sweet, smiley child and the self-loathing statements came to halt. It was only natural, she said, to extend “the Sofia rule” to her professional life, as well.
Imagining a demanding, high-strung mother of the bride or as a cute kid (with an emphasis on cute; visualizing the school bully will have the opposite effect!) humanizes her, making it easier for you to relate and show empathy.
For more tips on diffusing tense customer situations, check out “Hot, Bothered and Always Right”.