Magazine article New Zealand Management

Managing Staff Who Deal with Angry and Aggressive Customers

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Managing Staff Who Deal with Angry and Aggressive Customers

Article excerpt

Russell Crowe throws a phone at the concierge. Trevor Mallard has a punch-up. Road rage increases. Supermarket rage appears. Participants yell and scream on reality TV.

People are increasingly stressed and expressing that more freely in business situations. If your staff are not properly prepared to deal with anger and aggression then the consequences could be costly for your business. Not only could it alienate those angry customers and their money, other customers might be put off--and OSH would want to know what you are doing to protect your staff from this 'hazard'.

Training in dealing with such situations and providing ongoing support will help to ensure the best handling of angry customers so your business keeps running with minimal disruption.

[1] ASK YOUR STAFF what difficulties they face with upset customers. Some staff keep quiet about such problems. Customers who are angry towards the receptionist can be charm personified when the boss or expert arrives on the scene.

[2] NOTICE SIGNS OF STRESS: Excessive sick leave, time spent telling 'war stories', worried looks and staff churn. This is a high cost to the business.

[3] NOTICE HOW STAFF BEHAVE towards each other. Monitor how you behave towards staff yourself. Expressions of anger, irritability or unease within the team can signal that staff are getting a hard time from customers. Counsellors call this 'parallel process'. What happens in one part of the system is replicated in other parts.

[4] GENERATE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE towards customers no matter what. Don't talk about them as the enemy, no matter how stroppy they might gel Think Tm OK, you're OK'. When they nut off they are simply trying to tell you of their needs, even if they don't use the best words or expressions. Avoid being judgemental.


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