5 Ways to Alleviate Frustration after a Tough Customer Interaction

Like most retailers we want every customer to be happy with our product and service. As an intentionally people-focused ecommerce company, we make it our goal to go above and beyond their expectations and try to resolve any issues in a personal, efficient way. We routinely send handwritten thank-you cards, follow up with customers who report issues, and answer our phones well below the average wait time. But unfortunately there are some situations that end up less positively than any of us would like.

It’s often a challenge to shrug off a difficult customer interaction. We’re all human, after all! To stay efficient and keep quality up, it’s extremely important that those dealing with your customers are able to bounce back from uncomfortable conversations to help the next person. Fortunately there are some things you can do after an interaction to help keep spirits high.

Here are 5 tips from our customer happiness team to help you alleviate frustration after a challenging customer interaction:

Walk it off

After a tough call from an unhappy customer, get out of your chair and walk. Taking a break from your desk, no matter how short, will help calm you down and release tension that may have built up during the call. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, either — even a quick lap around the room can make a noticeable difference!

Keep water at your desk

It may sound silly, but being able to take a drink of water (and a few deep breaths) after a call can help eliminate some anxiety after a tough interaction. When you’re stressed, having a ritual like this can slow your heart rate and allow you to collect yourself. It’s also a good idea to keep a notepad and pen handy. This will help you remember what you are going to do for the customer, as well as allow you to jot down anything you learned from the interaction.

Talk to your team

Talking (or venting) about the interaction with a team member not only releases some stress, but it also helps you gain feedback. Team members are great for offering advice, and together you can figure out how to handle the situation differently next time. Of course there are times when the tough interaction was unavoidable and you did everything correctly. In these cases, talking with a team member can still be beneficial because they understand how you feel and can offer support (or a good laugh!).

On the flip side, make sure to then quickly jump back in after you share the interaction with your team members. In fact, dwelling on the call may actually cause more harm than good. Address the issue, gather some advice or support from your team then move on.

Give your brain a break

Sometimes you just need a distraction. If you’re struggling to shake off a tough interaction with a customer, try logging out of the phone and thinking of something completely different. Whether you have a quick, non-work-related conversation with a team member or check your phone for a funny text, giving yourself a brief distraction can help you fight frustration.

Squeeze a stress ball

Believe it or not, stress balls actually do help alleviate tension from stress. When we become stressed our bodies tense up but don’t always relax afterward. Because your muscles activate when you squeeze a stress ball, letting go forces your muscles to relax, making it easier to mentally calm down.

No matter how hard you try, there will certainly be difficult situations that test your patience. In order to keep the efficiency and quality of your interactions with customers high, you’ll need your customer service representatives to be able to move on from tough calls. Whether it’s taking a quick break from the phone or talking to another team member, finding a technique that works will help keep your team members — and your customers — happy!

Angie Stocklin is a co-founder at One Click Ventures

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