Monday Motivation: Take Control Of That Initial Reaction

keep-calm-and-react-8 (1)Try these scenarios on for size.  A coworker walks up behind you and asks a question they should know the answer to.  Or perhaps another coworker breaks your focus with a stupid question.  Finally, consider a time someone came to talk to you and you just knew they were going to whine about something.

In these moments, you feel your blood start to boil, you cross your arms, legs and toes and the smile disappears from your face.  In your mind you try to decide if you want to go with a cutting, sarcastic remark or just go for the jugular and tell them to buzz off.

In my personal journey, I have found my reaction to these encounters to be among the most difficult to control.  So much so that it’s easy to blame a long list of circumstances and leave myself off the list entirely.

This is where the concept of Emotional Intelligence simply blows my mind.  When we are emotionally intelligent, we have the power to recognize our emotional state and control our emotions rather than being controlled by them.

Wait, so you’re saying that I can choose to react favorably to people who break my train of thought or ask me stupid questions?  I don’t have to lash out at them?  Bingo!  In the worlds of both customer service and internal customer service, this is often the difference between success and failure.  The people I work with who are awesome at customer service, are approachable and rarely if ever react poorly to unforeseen circumstances.

The next time someone approaches you for assistance, try this simple drill.

  1. First of all, force your mouth into a smile.
  2. Second, sit up straight and keep your arms and legs uncrossed.  This means you are receptive to be approached by the other person.
  3. Finally, listen, choose to assume the best about the person, and then respond positively.  This may feel a bit unnatural at first, but that will change with practice.

Eventually you will to find that this becomes second nature and your internal and external customers will love working with you.  This week, we are going to share more thoughts on internal customer service but it starts with this split second reaction.  React well my friends.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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