Self-Care in #CustServ: The 3 Deep Breaths Rule

Let’s play a game:

Have you ever felt so frustrated with a coworker you want to scream? 

Have you ever felt so angry with a customer that you might lose your mind? 

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with the amount of work that you have to do?

If you answered YES to one or more of the above, congrats, you’re human. And, you’re not alone.

Now, how many of you answered YES to the above questions but also proceeded with a reaction that may not have been your best moment of glory. Did you yell at that coworker? Perhaps you got angry with a customer? Or, maybe you cried and threw your computer (or a pen, a book, whatever happened to be in your hand) across the room?

In customer service roles, we’re faced with the task of helping our customers and coworkers but also keeping a smiling face on, no matter how we really feel. We’re on stage and we have to be on our A-game.

Over the years, after encountering lots of burn out, stress, anxiety attacks (yup, I get those) and other fun afternoon activities, I realized these two things:

1. It’s OK to feel your feelings, even at work. 

2. You have a choice on how to react.

Even when you know you have a choice on how to react, sometimes you’ll choose the “easy” path, which is letting the frustration lead the way. You give in, get angry and let the world see you go cray cray.

It’s SO easy to do this!

That said, I’d like to introduce you to a new method that will help you feel and acknowledge your feelings AND it will help simmer down the anxiety.

Yes, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

So how do you make this possible, you ask?

  • Okay, close your eyes first.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold your breathe in for a count of three.
  • Let your breath slowly out of your mouth.

Repeat this three times. Not once, not twice. Three times.

Yup, breathing is the magical answer to:

  • Calming down your nervous system
  • Slowing down your heart rate
  • Stablize your blood pressure
  • Relaxing your muscles (I mean, have you seen your face when you’re stressed?)

Don’t just take it from me, you can read more about why deep breathing is good for you here.

2 Real World Examples of When to Get Your Deep Breath On

You’re dealing with a very frustrating customer on the phone. You are ready to rip them a new one with the way they are talking to you. You place them on hold for 20 seconds, close your eyes and breathe deeply. You return to the call. 

 

Your employee has called out with less than 24 hours notice and you have no coverage for their shift. Now, your team is pissed with you and that employee because they are taking the brunt of the work. You have an email box of 1000 messages, voicemails you have to return and a presentation to prepare for. You escape for 1 minute out to the parking lot to sit in your car. You close your eyes and take three deep breaths then return to the shit show. 

 

—>What is your example that you can add here?

 

NOTE: Deep breathing doesn’t fix your issues. It doesn’t make the crazy in your life go away. What it does do is give you an opportunity to pause and recollect yourself to strengthen your ability to deal with frustrating situations.

Jenny Dempsey is the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she is studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Be sure to check out DempseyWellnessCenter.com and follow her on social media!

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