By Clark Twiddy
President, Twiddy & Company
In this month of heat and crowds, few, if any of us, in public-facing businesses don't come home on occasion and share with our friends and loved ones an experience with an emotional customer.
While it's a great thing to share the frustrations around what is an all-too-common incivility toward other people, it's also important to empathize with so many of our customers who are simply under a lot of pressure in their lives. One great way to frame this is through the idea that generally customers can fall into three emotional categories--10% of us are simply what I'll call negative sorters in that no matter what happens, it's a bad thing (we all know one). Happily, on the other end of that scale is the 10% of us who never get down about anything--those are the relentlessly positive sorters (we all hope to know one of those, too).
The remaining 80% of us are, if you're like me, simply emotional people living in a physical world. We get hungry, we get hot, we get tired, and we get mad. On our days when we could have done better, we let those emotions get the better of us. If those of us on the receiving end of this recognize that fact, we're more able to empathize and--here's the punchline--better manage the emotional outbreaks that, to be honest, were never really about us anyway. Having a few tips and tools to help out an emotional customer is always preferable to responding in kind--when that happens, no one wins.