In the last blog, I had spoken about the root cause of customer aggression. In this blog, I will speak how it can be handled by giving training to service employees.
Emotions play a significant role for good customer service and customer loyalty. Emotional labor is not only used for workplaces, but also in every aspect of an individual’s life. It means that a person changes behaviors (emotions, verbal cues, body language) according to the suitable situation and a major challenge during emotional labor, is that front line employees are required to manage their emotions when customers give them hard time and they must convince them with smile, if they receive negative feedback from customers.
Emotional labor has been demanded considerably among service industries. According to (Kruml and Geddes, 2000, p.11), emotional labor depends on making eye contact, delivering smiles and showing genuine concern for customer needs.
Assertiveness is a way of thinking and behaving that allows a person to stand up for his or her rights, while respecting the rights of others. Assertiveness training can be given to service employees for handling customer aggression. Assertiveness training focuses on the individual building self-awareness and confidence in expression and articulation of opinion, as well as acknowledging and respecting the opinions and desires of others.
Assertiveness techniques: These techniques are as follows:
- Fogging is a method for denying requests or disagreeing with someone, while showing them that you nevertheless recognize and respect that person’s position.
- Broken record technique, is useful for situations in which another person will not acknowledge or accept your message.
- Negative assertion involves not only accepting the criticism, but openly agreeing with the Criticism.
- Conflict management – advantages and disadvantages.
- Use open, secure body language.
- Communicate clearly, positively and directly
- Know the facts and have them on hand; use open questions
- Use questioning to clarify.
- Be aware of emotional cues.
- Anticipate the responses of others.
- Keep calm when dealing with negative attitudes and aggression.
- Respect the values and rights of others to express opinions.
- Offer alternative solutions.
- Summarise the situation and take ownership and responsibility for what you say, by using “I” statements,
Assertiveness training workshops need to be given to employees, to explore the required skills and understand the process of what it takes to be assertive, when dealing with people in different situations. It guides the employees’ focus on solutions, rather than problems. Assertiveness trainings can include topics like:
- The Assertion Styles
- Customer Service Evaluation Questionnaires
- Why Customers Get Upset
- Using Specific Phrases and Words, while dealing with customers
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Active Listening Skills
- Videos like FISH, Coping with difficult customers
These trainings can be provided by Organization Development (OD) Facilitators, o Consultants, Counselors, or Therapists, who are specialized in assertiveness training interventions that motivate, develop and engage the learners. In training, Counselors or Therapists help clients figure out which interpersonal situations are problems for them and which behaviors need the most attention. They may use a combination of interviews, tests, or role-playing exercises as part of this training. These trainings focus on both verbal and non-verbal behaviors. These trainings help service employees understand the customers and handle the aggression. eLearning can also be a very useful tool for training employees for improving communication skills, interpersonal skills, assertive skills, negotiation skills, etc.