There’s no surprise that customer service is among occupations that commonly involve quite a high number of stressful experiences. This job-related stress might gradually influence our reactions and behaviors, and invisibly cause the outcomes that are not really in our best interests. Exhaustion, anxiety, lack of motivation, uncertainty and frustration are reported as most common issues resulting in overall burnout and occupational hazard in customer service professionals. Have you ever asked yourself what you can do to relieve the stress and avoid the undesirable effects?
In my previous blog post I outlined 5 reasons why you should embrace a positive attitude in customer service. Today, I would like to extend on it and offer a few stress relief tips that you can easily put into your customer service job routine immediately.
1. Cultivate Self-Awareness
One of the most important factors in developing a positive attitude is starting recognizing and analyzing your emotions. Once you can identify negative emotions in relation to your job, you can take control of your feelings. Ask yourself how exactly you are feeling at each particular moment, why, and what can be done about it. Try to describe your feelings using verbal subtleties like “annoyed”, “upset”, “anxious” or “downtrodden”, rather than just “bad” or “unhappy”. By practicing this exercise you can determine what happens in each micro-situation, find a way to respond more meaningfully and prevent negative experiences from gathering like a snowball.
2. Overcome Problems with Creativity
A flexible and creative approach helps turn your can’ts into cans and beat unhelpful thinking. Whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation, remind yourself gently that it’s up to you whether to perceive it as a disaster or the notorious last straw. In fact, you always have the power of seeing any problem as an opportunity to creatively find a way to fix the failure or draw a useful lesson from the situation. Start with asking yourself what you should do to solve the problem, then come up with a list of options (and there’s always a few) and pick the best one.
3. Say Cheese
Smile or make someone else smile. This may sound trivial, but a simple smile can work wonders. It helps you create the welcoming and friendly frame of mind that is so important in customer service. Let a smile recharge your batteries after each conversation and take away the emotions you have experienced while handling a previous customer request.
4. Tame the Voice in Your Head
When you start to notice a negative thought arising, always acknowledge it and use a pattern to interrupt it. Just like Jack Nicholson used the goos fraba mantra in the “Anger Management” movie, get a habit of practicing something that would help you smile and stop negative thoughts in their tracks. It does work perfectly for me! Whenever I find my self-talk is negative, I start humming “You’d better stop before” by Sam Brown, and I find myself feeling far better pretty soon.
5. Surround Yourself with Positive Anchors
While working on this blog post, I was delighted to discover another wonderful tip in my email inbox. Jeff Toister’s Customer Service Tip of the Week turned up just at the right moment to let me include it into this article. Jeff suggests focusing on something positive that “anchors” your attitude where it needs to be to deliver outstanding service. You can surround yourself with things like pictures of family or friends, motivational or funny quote posters, upbeat music and many other sorts of goodies to keep your negative feelings neutralized when dealing with a difficult customer or handling a challenging situation.
6. Dream. Wisely
Your dreams can work as positive anchors, too. When you focus on what you want to achieve and start imagining yourself with the goal already achieved, the visualization technique helps hit the target. The trick is not only to drift from reality to a relaxing beach vacation or layout of your dream home. To make the dream come true, you need to make a plan and put in the necessary effort.
There’s another interesting exercise that involves dreaming about the future introduced by psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen in “Rethinking Positive Thinking” called mental contrasting. Based on her large-scale scientific studies, Oettingen suggests focusing in rotation on your dreams and the obstacles that stand in their way. The exercise helps you face the reality and address your fears, make concrete plans, and gain energy to take action while working on achieving your goals. In case you are interested in finding out more about the mental contrasting technique, check out this article.
7. Create Slice-of-Joy Moments
Life is always full of pleasant moments. You can easily treat yourself and reward for the job you do by simply recognizing and enjoying the smallest, often unremarkable, but still delightful moments in your daily life. This is what Google’s former happiness guru Chade-Meng Tan describes in his book “Joy on Demand” as an effective three-second brain exercise for finding joy and relieving stress. Developing the habit of consciously savoring your pleasant moments does more than hours of therapy. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.”
Would any of the above tips help you feel better and more positive at your job? Would you like to add or share any other tips or tricks to help maintain a positive attitude in customer service? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. And as always, thank you for reading our blog!
- 4 Dimensions of Customer Trust: How To Get The Most of It - March 14, 2018
- The Importance of Critical Thinking in Customer Service - February 15, 2018
- Will AI Take Humans out of Customer Service in The Near Future? - January 10, 2018