Beyond napping, which isn’t always feasible, especially in tense situations, what’s the best way
to remain calm and relaxed as you go through challenging situations as a support person? There
are a few tactics that you can use before, after, or during a stressful conversation with
a customer that can help you keep your cool and close your conversation with minimal conflict.
Practice calming exercises.
While on the phone, email, and chat, or off, it’s valuable to practice calming
exercises for yourself. This could look something like meditation, or it could just
be learning to breathe through your nose, out through your mouth. Either way,
determining a type of calming exercise that you can use on or off the phone will help
you when you have a customer interactions that are making you lose your cool.
Don’t take it personally.
Remember, no matter what someone says to you that, ultimately, the issue did not stem
from you. They were having trouble before they reached out to support, and are now
using this opportunity to vent off some of their frustration. That is okay! It’s your
job to absorb it, after all, but do not take it personally. The person potentially
sitting there yelling at you is angry at something that happened
of the interaction, not because of something you did or said.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point. Try to get a mental picture of where the
customer is before getting frustrated and judging them for their questions. For
example, last winter my father had a stroke and I chatted with a car rental agency
to push back my car rental. They seemed to not even have heard me, and I got angry
and aggressive, I’m ashamed to admit. But, from the other side of things, I would
have understood why someone whose father was dying might have been more easy to anger
If you’re going to apologize at all, apologize genuinely. Don’t just say “sorry” and
leave it at that. Make sure that they believe it, and make sure that
believe it when you say it, otherwise, it’s just more lip service that they probably
don’t want to have paid.
“Chunk” the problem.
When there is something large and unwieldy that you’re trying to deal with
in regular, non-work life, what do you do? You break it up into smaller pieces, or
As you chunk the problem it becomes slightly easier to solve and figure out, and much
less overwhelming. So, as you encounter something stressful or nerve-wracking, take
a moment to break it down into chunks and see if that helps.
Focus on finding and solving the root problem.
Another great way to solve difficult problems is to find the root problem at hand,
and try to solve
first. Once you’ve gone down the path of finding the root problem, you have a much
better understanding of each of the steps that it took to get there, also.
If you’re truly at your wit’s end and you just don’t know what to do, take a step
away from your desk and the situation and try to move forward that way. Maybe that
means a change of scenery, like walking around the block or in a nearby park,
or perhaps just heading to a quiet room and reading a book for five minutes.
No matter what you do, give yourself some space away from the problem to gain
We also asked our own Customer Champions for some tips. Here’s how they stay cool, calm and collected on chat:
Get a squishy toy, slime or playdough — something that you can squish in your hands.
It really helps us relax.
If you work remotely, like us, saying whatever you think about the customer out loud
can help blow off some steam. However, we don’t recommend doing it if you work
in an office or in a co-working space, for obvious reasons :)
Exercise also helps relieve stress. If you have a chance, turn on your favourite
song, stand up and do some jumping jacks or even dance, you’ll feel better
in no time. If there are people around you, doing some simple movements to relax your
stiff shoulders and neck can do wonders too.