"Wow!", said an employee to me recently, "I just got an earful from Betty on the phone and I have no idea why! What did I say to her to set her off like that?" It happens sometimes. A customer explodes in fury in front of you over what you perceive to be the smallest incident or nothing at all. It’s definitely a disproportionate response.
When this situation happens, we are often experiencing the results of a string of small issues that the customer has felt ‘wronged by’ and yet not dealt with when they happened.
David Sandler used to call it: collecting stamps. When we feel wronged, and don’t deal with that wrong in the moment, we save it in our emotional ‘stamp book’. If it happens enough, our stamp book becomes full and we ‘cash our stamps in’ on whoever is in front of us when that tipping point occurs. It’s not really about us, it’s about them.
We never want to add stamps to our customers’ stamp books, but we also shouldn’t take it personally when someone over-reacts. Often if we patiently and empathetically allow them to vent, they’ll not only cool down, but often apologize to us. Never contribute to a customer's explosion, and never react by saving stamps of your own.
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