Welcome to 2019 and to my brand new series; Staying Classy! This series is all about the good, the bad and the ugly of handling complaints and feedback. Over the next five weeks I’ll be diving deep into how to manage complaints, all whilst Staying Classy. If your goal for 2019 is to dive into creating an amazing customer service experience than this is exactly what you need.
Running a small business requires some good self-care practices anyway - but doubly so when you’ve been called something super rude, and you’re struggling to remember why you even run a business.
Important P.S. All the tips below are great tips for helping you to manage “normal” day to day stress of running a small business. If you feel that what you are experiencing is above and beyond this, please reach out for help from a professional.
Take a break
Get away from your office and (if you can) go for a walk. No one is 100% able to not be affected by angry customers. Getting outside and into nature (even if it’s just a park) can help to decrease cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate. If you can’t get outside, at least go and make a cup of tea (or other beverage of choice).
Talk to someone about it
I’m sure some people feel that you shouldn’t complain (particularly about work), but I think that it can help you get your emotions out. Having business friends are great because they can help you let off some steam about the situation, and maybe they’ll have some good suggestions about how to handle the situation.
I know, I know. Everyone tells you should meditate. I could throw a bunch of stats at you about why, but I think I’ll share my meditation story. I started meditating about four years ago. I did it because I thought it might help me with my anxiety, and it has (to an extent). The most significant change I have experienced though is I’m so much quicker at getting a handle on negative emotions, and this includes anger and frustration. I’m also so much more compassionate and more able to see things from others perspective. If you want to give meditation a go, my current favourite app is Calm, but I also like Buddhify. Many people love Headspace (and I’ve used it in the past), but it’s a little more expensive, so I don’t like to recommend it as a first choice if you just want to give it a go.
Let it go
You can’t hold on to the day’s events once you close your laptop for the day. People are going to be angry at you or your business at some point, and you can’t take it with you once your office hours are over. As a wise wizard once said, “Really… If you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.”
I know this has taken a left turn into hippy woo woo territory but I am serious - gratitude is a fantastic way to build your resilience. I use the Five Minute Journal, but you can just list at least three things you’re grateful for at some point every day. This article dives really deep into the different benefits of gratitude, but this is what it has to say about the importance of gratitude for building resilience "Those that have more gratitude have a more proactive coping style, are more likely to have and seek out social support in times of need, are less likely to develop PTSD, and are more likely to grow in times of stress."
Don't expect the situation to change
People are always going to shout, send irritating emails and ask you to repeat yourself. Babies are always going to cry when planes take off, queues will always be too long right when you need them to be short, and traffic jams will always exist. It's you that needs to change how you view this experiences to learn to be patient with them.