Customer service expert Janelle Barlow cites research indicating that positive emotions encourage more wide-ranging and creative thinking than do negative emotions. She says that we can be more effective with our customers if we remain positive. That seems obvious, she admits, but think how seldom the advice is followed.
Like all customers, students and parents are not always right. They make mistakes. They forget things. They get confused. Usually they are emotional and often it is the front-line staff person who takes the brunt of the emotion.
It helps to have some practical strategies to rely on when dealing with an upset student, parent, alum - or any customer. Consider the following:
In Barlow's book, A Complaint is a Gift, she writes, "Some individuals lack gracious social skills and may appear inappropriate when they complain. They get nervous and may seem harsh, angry, or even stupid. The service provider must learn to focus on the content of the complaint and on the way the complaint is delivered."
Self-awareness is the first step to ensuring positive interactions. Be introspective and ask yourself, "What can I do to improve this situation?" "How am I contributing to this problem?" "What can I do so that this does not happen again?"
The customer service team is interested in your reactions to this article and welcomes any suggestions (specific or general) that you may have to continually improve customer service. Please contact Maureen Sheehan Massaro or a member of the team: