Customer service representatives and managers may have some the most stressful jobs in the business industry. It’s not easy talking to the public day in and out: catering to demands and being yelled at for things that are out of your control.
Dealing with customers can sometimes be a pleasant and fulfilling experience, but it’s often difficult and even nightmarish. People usually don’t call customer service to offer praise; they usually call because they have a complaint, and they can often be angry and unreasonable.
Thus, stress in this setting is all too common, and it can have some serious health repercussions if not handled properly. High blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, seizures, dementia, and more can develop after prolonged exposure to constant stress.
Learning to manage stress is essential for a successful and healthy career. To avoid becoming a statistic and lower your risk of developing these life-threatening conditions, consider these suggestions.
1. Take a Relaxing Vacation
Think beaches, palm trees, and blue water. Even the idea of such a vacation can make some of your stress melt away. Beaches are among the best places for de-stressing, particularly on the Atlantic coast, where the beaches are white and the water is crystal clear. There are also plenty of reefs for snorkeling, perhaps the most relaxing recreational activity of all.
2. Put Yourself in Another’s Shoes
Sometimes dealing with stress entails tackling the problem head on. When a customer gets especially angry, don’t take offense. Instead, put yourself in that person’s shoes. Perhaps he or she had a very difficult day; maybe a family member died. You never know what someone is going through, and shifting your perspective can evoke compassion rather than stress.
3. Keep a Positivity Diary
Thinking positive can be a key to dispelling stress, but it’s certainly not easy. One way to jump-start a more positive mindset is to write down all the positive thoughts that come to you. You might have to force this at first and think back on your day to recall the positives that happened. Over time, you’ll develop gratitude for small and seemingly insignificant things that do wonders for relieving tension.
4. Learn to Breathe
Every customer service rep should have a breathing method to employ when tensions get high. It’s essential not to engage with angry customers who are looking to pick a fight, and it’s also vital to stay focused so you can resolve the issue. Breathing exercises can help with this. Most people choose to breathe very slowly and deeply for at least a minute while a customer is venting. This can help to put things back into perspective and dissolve some of the tension.
5. Talk It Out
Grab a friend or cubicle neighbor and talk through your struggles. Sometimes venting a little yourself lets the heat out and enables you to handle big challenges. If no one is around, talk to yourself. Work around the problem until you feel calm enough to address the situation.
6. Walk During Lunch
According to Harvard Health, exercise is one of the best things to do for stress. As a customer service rep, you probably don’t get a lot of activity while sitting at a desk all day. Taking just a few minutes out of your lunch break for a brisk walk will not only make you healthier but will also help to dissipate some of that stress.
7. Handle Customer Anger Properly
When a customer gets really enraged, there are proper ways to handle it. You can’t let yourself be a sponge for customer frustration because that will make you angry and everything will get worse. Remember there’s a real person on the other end of the line and try to empathize with his or her anger, which can be useful in relieving your tension. Sometimes, properly handling an angry customer’s problem will result in a sincere apology and a great review.