Deep Breaths

October 9, 2017 by Rob Kahl @ Scott & Stapleton

There have been a few occasions recently when people here in the office have been upset after ranting clients calling.

This can happen in all of our departments with sales unfortunately falling through, tenants being evicted and maintenance issues on our managed rental properties.

We always encourage our staff to treat all of these cases with care and compassion, but they obviously have to have a bit of a thick skin as well. There is a fine line between being compassionate to problems whilst keeping a distance to treat the issue professionally and correctly and it is something that can only be learned with experience.

We have had staff going home in tears and up all night worrying about situations that are completely out of their control. I think, unfortunately, we can all be guilty of sounding off to the people who are working on the front line. If it is the Call Centre staff for Sky television (don’t get me started!) or a Waitress at a restaurant because your soup is cold. People are all too often quick to point fingers and blame and even fly off the handle but usually it is either not the fault of the person that the anger is directed at or completely out of their hands.

I myself have been guilty of losing my temper with call centres after being on hold for 20 minutes and you have a rant and moan at the poor person on the end of the line. Give it a few minutes after and I always feel guilty and wish I hadn’t of done it and that is the point I make to staff. It is important and essential to empathise with people and their problems, but if that person is angry and emotional it is never (usually) personal.

People are quite rightly frustrated with the situation they find themselves in and are sounding off to the person nearest and possibly the ones they are paying, more importantly, to try and resolve the problem. 9 times out of 10 it is an issue that is either out of our control or we are passing on instructions from another party, but if it is not what the client wants to hear then we can quite possibly expect an earful.

It could be having to break awful news to buyers that someone has changed their mind and no longer wants to sell their home. Breaking news to long term tenants that the landlord has decided to take back ownership of their property and will be evicting them after many happy years in a place they have called home or current tenants told that the landlord has decided not to decorate the property as per their request. All of these things are annoying and upsetting and people can get extremely emotional at times of great stress. That should always be taken in to consideration when breaking bad news and like I have said should not be taken too personally but empathy and sensitivity are always advised.

With our Clients as well,  I appreciate that frustrations must be aired even if it is just to avoid blood pressure issues, but they must be targeted at the right people and in the right way. Does anyone really respond well to being shouted at? Surely a calm, sensible conversation airing points of concern in a grown up manner are much more likely to achieve the response and outcome you are looking for?

This article is by Rob at Scott & Staplelton
Tel: 01702 471155

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