Put me through to your manager, NOW!

Put me through to your manager, NOW!

Jurek Leon - Tuesday, March 04, 2008

By Jurek Leon

Bosses please don’t read this.  Pass it on to your frontline staff.  It’s for them.  It will help them to feel better...and to educate you.

You see I’ve just been running another ‘Service Excellence Over The Telephone’ course and again this has proven to be a major frustration for your frontline team.

When you are in the frontline, callers can attempt to bully you into giving them what they want and at times take their frustrations out on you.  Unfortunately to some people, you are an easy target. 

When they don’t get their way, they often demand to speak to your manager.  You locate your manager, quickly let him or her know that this could be a delicate situation and transfer the call.

You then sit there for a moment feeling drained.  But that is NOTHING compared to how you feel when a few minutes later your manager comes out and says, “I don’t know why you were getting so hot and bothered about that call.  I had no trouble handling him.  He was a pussycat!”

You are too shocked to respond.  You clearly replay in your mind the snide or sarcastic comments the customer had made; the rude things they said; the way they talked down to you.  Inside you are churned up, perhaps even seething, and at that moment aren’t sure who you dislike the most – the unpleasant customer or your boss.

Does any of this sound familiar?  It is one of the most frequent frustrations that receptionists and frontline staff share with me on telephone techniques courses.

Forgive them they know not what they do
Here is a technique that will totally turn this situation around, have you feeling a lot better and teach your boss to appreciate you more.

Well, there are actually two techniques you could use and the first one may give you some short term satisfaction but it doesn’t help anyone in the long term.

Solution One (which I don’t recommend): Handle the call badly.  Show absolutely no empathy.  Remain polite but cold and uncaring.  If they raise their voice, raise yours a little and in a precise aloof tone recite the company rule book while offering no help at all.  Then when you put the call through to your manager it will be like a volcano erupting and your boss will cop all the hot molten lava.

Solution Two (the one I do recommend): When you put the call through, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and congratulate yourself for having stayed calm and gracious in a difficult situation.  When your boss comes out and says, “I don’t why you were getting so hot and bothered about that call.  I had no trouble handling him.  He was a pussycat”, here is what you do.

Say to your boss, “That’s great.  I must have done a really good job.  Aren’t you proud of me?” 

Your boss will probably be bemused and ask what you mean, to which you reply, “That caller was really rude to me, kept swearing about our company and how useless we are and treated me like I was a nothing, a nobody.  But I didn’t react.  I didn’t drop to his level. I stayed calm.  I told him I was sorry that he was so upset and allowed him to let off steam even though he was being really unpleasant to me.”

“That meant that by the time I had put him through to you, he had got most of it out of his system and was ready to listen.  Especially to someone he felt was in authority.  Which allowed you to use your skills.  We make a good team, don’t we?”

There are some bosses who don’t know or forget what it is like to be in the frontline having to deal with people who feel they can talk in whatever way they want to ‘underlings’, people who take a whole different approach when put through to a manager.  You just have to educate your boss to appreciate your situation and your professionalism.  That way you both feel better.

Jurek Leon is a speaker, trainer and consultant.  To subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly email newsletter go to the Free Articles section of his website www.terrifictrading.com and type in your name and email address.  It’s simple and easy.  Alternatively, email Jurek at info@terrifictrading.com.

Jurek Leon is a storyteller, trainer and coach who presents courses and addresses seminars on word of mouth marketing, motivation, customer focussed selling and managing the customer experience. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly ‘Terrific Tips’ e-newsletter at www.terrifictrading.com. Alternatively, email info@terrifictrading.com.

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Jurek Leon is a storyteller, speaker and trainer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at http://www.terrifictrading.com/terrific-newsletter/. Alternatively, email info@terrifictrading.com.