Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Shift Into Neutral Before Talking to Customers

March 23, 2017

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In my workshops and newsletters, I frequently stress the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. After all, attitudes are contagious and being friendly is always the right thing to do when it comes to communicating with your customers and co-workers. But it’s not always easy. At times, it’s downright impossible to be nice.

As the saying goes, “Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans.” During the course of a day, you may be thrown a curveball that can quickly shift your mood from friendly to foul:

  • Road construction holds you up on the way to work and you are literally running through the building in order to make it to your desk by starting time.
  • Your boss stops by your desk at 8:30 a.m. and tells you she wants to meet with you before lunch. She doesn’t look happy. Your mind and heart start racing, wondering what it is that you’ve done wrong.
  • A customer screams at you on the phone, blaming you for the fact that his order is messed up.
  • Your spouse calls to tell you that the plumbing in the bathroom is leaking and there’s water all over the floor.
  • You get a call from your son’s school. He has a fever and needs to be picked up as soon as possible.

So the question begs to be asked, “Is it okay to be rude or a little nasty to your customers or co-workers when something is going wrong in your life?” The answer is quite simple, “Absolutely not!”

Think about your own experiences when you are a customer. Do you want to deal with someone who is moody or rude? Do you want to hear about his or her personal problems? Do you want to observe an employee arguing with a co-worker?

You probably answered “no” to the above questions. When you are conducting business, you want the focus to be on your needs and you want to deal with a pleasant person. Your customers are no different than you. They expect and deserve to conduct business with positive people. Keep in mind that when I refer to customers, I’m also referring to your co-workers. The people you work with day in and day out are your primary customers. If you work full-time, you probably spend more time with your co-workers each week than you spend with your own family.

Your attitude can significantly impact the quality of the workplace for everyone. You owe it to your customers and co-workers to have a positive attitude in spite of what is going on in your own life. Because you are a professional, you need to learn how to shift your mood into neutral. Then you’ll be ready to quickly shift into “positive” before you communicate with your customers and co-workers.

10 Ways to Shift From Negative to Neutral:man in mirror

  1. Keep a mirror on your desk. Look it in it before you pick up the phone and smile. Even a fake smile can make you feel better and your customers will hear a warmer tone in your voice.
  2. Go to the restroom or an empty conference room and hide out for a few minutes to calm down.
  3. Splash cool water on your face.
  4. Rub your temples and forehead to relax your facial muscles.
  5. Have a cup of green tea.
  6. Go for a 10-minute walk outside during your lunch break. Even if it’s cold, bundle up. The fresh air will clear your mind and help you to feel better.
  7. Eat a piece of fruit or protein such as a hardboiled egg.
  8. Do some deep breathing exercises to quiet your thoughts.
  9. Stand up and do a few stretching exercises.
  10. Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask, “If this were me what would I want to hear?”

If you’re going through a challenging time, you can share your fears or frustrations with your close friends at work and seek support. But you need to be careful that complaining, moodiness or anger don’t show up as daily habits. Your attitude will become your personal signature. It’s what you’ll become known for and that can shape your future in a positive or negative way.

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