Calmer Heads Prevail

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I recently read one of those humorous e-mails, where a service provider dealt with a rude customer in a smart and funny way. I did find it really humorous, as I think anyone who has worked in a service industry would have loved to handled that type of customer this way at one point in our career.

Do people who work in the service industry possess a special skill that keeps them from losing it during situations such as this? I can understand how a service provider would want to go off on a customer. This made me think of all of the times when I was abused by customers and how I only yelled back once in my career (I told a drunk guy to get out before I called the police.)

In my younger days, I used to get really upset when a customer treated me poorly even though I was doing everything in my power to assist them. After awhile, I began to realize that I shouldn’t be taking it personally; the customer was usually angry at a situation, not at me as a person. After I understood this truth, it didn’t make dealing with angry guests any more fun, but I didn’t let it get to me as much. Usually, I would try to find the humor in the situation so I could have a good laugh (not in front of a customer of course!)

As a consumer, I can forgive mistakes when they happen, but how the service provider responds will gauge my reaction. If a mistake is made, I don’t over react, I respond to someone in a respectful, polite fashion. Now, if a service provider is rude in response, then I tend to get a little combative. I figure that I spent my career treating people with respect when they were abusing me; so why would I tolerate a service provider being rude to me.

Is keeping a calm head a skill that can be taught, or is it a naturally occurring phenomenon?

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