Mental Health Matters: Staff Safety & Dealing With the Aftermath of Unruly Customers
Customers play a critical role in the success of every business and workers and business owners in any industry will encounter a wide variety of customers. Although most of these encounters are likely pleasant, others can leave a sour taste in the mouth of everyone involved. Dealing with demanding customers is inevitable. However, challenging situations can turn dangerous and frightening without the proper precautions in place, leaving team members feeling mentally distressed. Staff safety should be at the heart of a caring business.
Mental health is a topic that is becoming increasingly important in today’s workplace, and for good reason. In particular, those who work in customer-facing roles often deal with unruly customers, which can be one of the biggest difficulties they face on a daily basis. It is essential for employers to prioritize the mental health and well-being of their employees, especially in situations where they may be dealing with complex and challenging customers.
Employees who are subjected to such situations can feel anxious, stressed, and mentally distressed. This is where the concept of “star-shaped safety” comes into play. At its core, star-shaped safety is about creating a safe and supportive environment for employees. This can mean providing adequate training and resources to help employees handle customer conflicts, as well as establishing clear policies and procedures for dealing with difficult customers. It also means ensuring that employees feel supported and valued by their employer, especially in the aftermath of a challenging situation.
So, what are some of the best tips for handling conflicts and other challenging situations more comfortably?
For employees, it can be helpful to practice active listening and empathy, and to remain calm and professional even in the face of a difficult customer. It is also important to know when to ask for help and to take breaks when needed. For employers, it is important to prioritize the mental health and well-being of employees by providing adequate support, resources, and training. It can also be helpful to establish clear policies and procedures for dealing with difficult customers, and to regularly check in with employees to ensure that they are feeling supported.
Our team at Little Green Button works to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and employees in the workplace. The right tools and preparation can go a long way to helping employers and workers handle conflicts and other challenging situations.
Dealing With Unruly Customers
Unruly customers can be very difficult to handle. The situation becomes more challenging when customer service specialists aim to juggle and satisfy various needs and emotions while still providing the best care services. Here’s how managers and employees can handle disruptive or troublesome customers and improve staff safety:
Remain Calm at All Times
In a customer service situation, upset customers could start causing trouble or begin to act aggressively. Workers must keep their composure as it can worsen things when feelings are escalating. It may seem like a normal and natural thing to do, but getting defensive can significantly exacerbate the situation. Instead, employees should maintain excellent customer service and stay calm regardless of their feelings.
When customers get upset and angry, they commonly begin to vent. Customer service agents need to take the time to make sure a customer feels heard, listening to their needs, even if they don’t want to. Active listening can help defuse any situation and make a customer feel acknowledged. One of the best ways a worker can show they’re listening to the customer is by summarising what they say and asking questions for clarification. This mirroring technique shows that the specialist is actively listening and striving to understand.
The ultimate way to prepare a team or staff for unruly customer situations is by providing them with the best training. Training sessions should combine theoretical and practical lessons. Allow them to practice handling these uncomfortable events and ensure they know what panic software is in place. Doing this can let workers know what to do when an occasion may arise. In any event, it is always better to be prepared in advance than overwhelmed at the moment. This all so serves to remind employees that staff safety is part of the company culture.
Upgrade Your Security
The last thing companies want is unawareness and unpreparedness when an unruly customer incident occurs. Successfully handling these situations hinges on taking the appropriate steps to protect a facility and its workers during potentially dangerous situations. The best security features to mitigate these ordeals include CCTV cameras and panic alarm systems.
Put on a Thick Skin
While this can be difficult, workers can’t take what angry or unruly customers do or say personally. The trick is to maintain a thick skin while boldly standing their ground. They may feel afraid, and aggressors can feed on these fears and apprehensions, using this against them. However, agitated individuals often appear more subdued when a worker won’t give them the chance. Some workers may also naturally avoid conflict. However, with management and team support, as well as security tools like a discreet panic button and CCTV camera systems, these employees can confidently de-escalate situations.
Dealing With the Aftermath of Unruly Customers
Handling unruly and dangerous customer situations can be a traumatic experience for workers and can dampen the mood or attitude of an entire workforce. When not handled properly, these experiences can also adversely impact mental health.
Although it can take some time for workers to feel like themselves again, employers can help them take some steps to ease moving forward and maintain staff safety levels.
Employees are Allowed to Have Feelings
Workers may experience a wide variety of emotions dealing with the aftermath of an unruly customer situation. These types of customer interactions commonly lead to employees feeling numb and lacking confidence. No matter how a specialist feels, they need to understand that this is a normal reaction and they may feel better talking about their emotions with coworkers or a manager.
Others may need personal space and time to release their emotions. Employers should remain supportive of whatever an employee needs, including taking a short time to feel better about their circumstances. Debriefing remains a vital component of mental health maintenance.
Workers will need all the help they can get to recover as quickly as possible. Recovery can take the form of talking with a trusted family member, friend, or even as much as a therapist or other professional. Some individuals seek out support groups for traumatic or scary events. These organisations can help people feel better by vocalising their feelings as they work towards healing.
Take Care of Yourself
When people take the time to do things that help them feel good, it can help the healing process after a traumatic experience. Taking care of oneself doesn’t need to be something expensive. Self-care is often as simple as taking a long bath after a long day, a walk in nature or listening to feel good music to help change the mood.
Mental Health matters when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of unruly customers.
For employees, it can be helpful to practice active listening and empathy, and to remain calm and professional even in the face of a difficult customer. It is also important to know when to ask for help and to take breaks when needed.
For employers, it is important to prioritize the mental health and well-being of employees by providing adequate support, resources, and training. It can also be helpful to establish clear policies and procedures for dealing with difficult customers, and to regularly check in with employees to ensure that they are feeling supported.
Mitigating Unruly Customer Events With Little Green Button
Little Green Button works hard to ensure the safety of all customers and workers when conducting their day-to-day business. We take pride in our discreet onscreen panic button to help employees feel safe in any situation, armed with the tools, training, and confidence they need to be successful.
Established in 2004, Little Green Button has spent over 15 years helping people stay safe at work. Although we initially developed our panic alarm technology for use in healthcare, we saw an opportunity in the customer service industry to support staff safety. Today, over 2,500 companies and 100,000 individuals worldwide use our discreet panic button for the office.
In any industry, it remains essential for employers to ensure that their staff members and customers feel safe. One of the best ways of mitigating these situations is by providing staff with the best possible procedures and tools to ensure they feel confident with a team ready to back them up should things go wrong. Little Green Button helps workers to relax with a discreet panic button installed on a mobile device to alert the workforce when the employee is involved in a situation that potentially makes them feel uncomfortable.
With our panic software technology, your workforce will never be alone again. Reach out to our team of expert customer service representatives for a free trial or get more information about a panic button device.