Tips for Stress Deflection

April 30, 2018 by  

Stress is mental or physical tension that results from physical, emotional, or chemical causes. In today’s ever-changing world of technology and strife, stress seems to increase and decrease in waves but never ceases. Changes in our world due to technology, the expectation of multi-tasking, the breakdown of the traditional family and other issues have shifted the nature and pattern of stress-inducing events.
Having said that, when stressors are relatively acute but infrequent, our bodies can recover. In fact, small doses of stress are actually beneficial to humans as they serve as a catalyst propelling us to higher achievement. However, prolonged exposure to stress does not give our bodies a chance to recover so we cannot fight or flee! In addition, that prolonged stress can cause irreversible physiological damage to our bodies and affect our cognitive abilities as well.
All these factors indicate that today we must have strategies to deflect and reduce our stress so that we can function effectively and stay healthy. In addition, we must find the fortitude to actually employ those strategies when necessary.

So what are some stress-busting ideas?
Here are some approaches you may wish to consider:
1. Breathe! Usually, the first thing that happens when we are stressed out, is we quit breathing appropriately thus reducing the oxygen levels to our brains which lowers our problem-solving abilities and rational thought.

2. Practice Active Listening……why? Because, just giving instructions or directions to someone does not guarantee that you will get what you expect unless you get some concrete feedback from the listener which proves that they received your message as sent, processed the information as necessary and so concluded what you expect to have happen. If you do not get this feedback, unless you are a mind reader, you actually have no idea what this person heard, how they computed the information and what they will actually do with that message. When we do not get what we expect we experience disappointment, resentment, complaining, confusion and of course, misinformation…….all of which cause stress!

3. Be Accountable…….that means taking responsibility for what you do and the mistakes that you make. If you do that you will learn from those errors and become a better problem solver.

4. Do not delay Problem Solving Techniques……… here is why, most problems will not disappear by themselves, in other words, you need to resolve issues and problems before they get worse and ignoring them or hoping they will fix themselves will not work!

5. Be Assertive……..if you have an issue with someone or a situation, it is best to address it but in an honest, calm and respectful manner. Allowing behavior that is inappropriate, disrespectful or even harassing, you enable it because we get the behavior we tolerate. Yes, it is often difficult to confront someone in such situations, however, if you don’t the problem will not go away by itself.

6. Get Regular Exercise……. Exercise helps to change your brain chemistry so that it releases more endorphins which give a feeling of wellbeing. In addition, you will have more energy to cope with your daily challenges if you are fit. This does not mean you need to run a marathon or develop the muscles of a weightlifter. Rather you can do whatever you enjoy that will get you moving. Take a dance or pilates class, take a drumming class, walk your dog a couple of times a day, do yoga, even learn to meditate. Whatever interests you and moves you will be good.

7. Eat Healthfully……..that means employing balance, moderation, and variety in your meals by eating from the four basic food groups, controlling your portions and enjoying a variety of different foods and styles of preparation. Your body needs proper nourishment to function well and you will feel better and stay healthier if you practice healthy eating. If you do not know how to do that, consider consulting a registered dietitian for some tips.

8. Get Adequate Rest…….most people today get less than 6 hours of sleep/night and that is truly not enough rest. Your body rejuvenates when you sleep and your memories become better embedded when you sleep. So, if you are not getting ample sleep neither of those functions is going to be happening, meaning you will likely not function effectively, make more mistakes and that will increase your stress.

9. Think Positively………..the only thing in your life that you have total control over is your attitude. One who thinks negatively, always sees the glass as half full and the bad in all situations is certainly not going to be a very happy person and will likely experience much more stress than a positive person. The positive attitude will bring solutions to challenges, find the good in any situation and will also experience far less stress because they will be too busy being happy!

10.Be Flexible…..in other words, go with the flow in any situation as some things you just cannot control and maybe you don’t have to control everything.

11.Laugh……..laughter is another thing that changes our brain chemistry and releases endorphins for a feeling of wellbeing. In fact, laughter helps us to heal so be sure to have some fun in your life on a very regular basis!

12.Believe in Yourself……self confidence and good self-esteem can help us to achieve more and at a higher level of performance. It does not mean that you need to become an egotist, it just means that you can believe that you can deal with pretty much whatever gets thrown at you.

13. List 5 Things that Make You Happy…….make that list and put in somewhere that you can see it often to remind yourself that your life is good!

14. Take a Vacation…..getting away from time to time is a great way to destress and it does not need to be anything exotic or far away. It can be just making sure you have some occasional “me time”. However, it can also add some fun to your life and your relationships.

15. Be sure you have a Good Life/Work Balance…..be sure to schedule in some time to spend with your loved ones and friends as that is just as important as being effective, efficient and creative and work.

In the end, remember that first of all, stress is different things to different people and that depends on their coping abilities, lifestyle, situation and even personality type.

However, for all of us, stress is rather like a violin…..

  • If you bow too hard on the strings the sound is very screechy.
  • If you do bow hard enough, very little sound comes out at all.
  • So your bowing technique needs to have just the right amount of pressure in order for the sound to be lovely.

So it is with stress……if you have no stress in your life, you likely do not have much of a life as stress is partly what makes us grow and change. However, too much stress is very harmful. So one must find a nice balance of occasional bouts of short stress and the ability to deflect enough stress so that it does not get out of hand and become harmful to our bodies, our minds, and our immune systems.

Seven Strategies for Keeping Angry Customers

April 4, 2018 by  

I believe you can salvage a relationship with an angry customer and turn them into a happy one depending on how you handle the situation.  Probably the most important key here is to practice Active Listening so that you can be sure that you clearly understand what the problem is before trying to make them happy.

Here are 7 ways to keep angry customers from storming out of your business and never returning:

1. Realize the customer’s time is valuable. If you put the customer on hold and transfer them three different times, you are going to make them angrier with each transfer. If that is what happens often you need to fix this system. It is better to solve the problem quickly and efficiently or direct the customer to someone who can. This can only be done if all your employees understand the chain of command and are empowered to solve problems. Employees should also know exactly who to refer problem customers to if it is beyond their scope and abilities.

2. Never outsource your customer service. Your customers want to be helped by people with good language skills so that they feel understood and that their issue will be handled effectively and efficiently. This, unfortunately, is not likely if the person is not even in the country and if English is not their first language.

3. Show empathy. Of course you must stay calm, however, you must sincerely show empathy for their situation and be ready and able to assist them quickly and effectively because they feel that they are in crisis and you need to fix it! In addition, never tell the customer to calm down as that will only escalate the exchange. Remember, this is not about you, it is about them!

4. Be Present on Social Media. Today, you must monitor your business on social media or you could be missing a big opportunity. Most people today find everything on the internet and consult social media for many of their needs. In addition, if they are unhappy about something they can also state that on social media. You need to have someone in your company actively updating your company profiles, website, and the information you post there. You should also be watching for comments good and bad about your business to see if you need to emphasize or change anything and then post that on the sites.

5. Over deliver, if possible. Once you have angered a customer, you need to do something outstanding in order to fix the relationship. You want the customer to remember how you fixed the problem rather than the problem itself. However, do not promise something you cannot deliver!

6. Don’t just say you will get back to the customer. Broken promises will only make the customer angrier. If you say you will get back to them this afternoon or tomorrow morning, make sure that you or whoever can fix the situation, does so. There is nothing worse than an unfulfilled expectation, especially after there has been some sort of issue that needed to be resolved.

7. Fix unreasonable policies. You can avoid angry customers in the first place if you figure out what is wrong with your process. Every organization needs to have policies and procedures, however, in some situations, the customer service people need to be given some flexibility with those policies, especially if they do not make sense in a particular situation. You, of course, cannot keep giving away the store, however, you do want to ask what will make them happy and try your best to deliver as much of what they are seeking as is reasonably possible.

So, you have an angry customer you might want to consider the above-described approaches to make sure that you can resolve their issue in a way that will allow you to keep them as a customer rather than chase them away. In today’s very competitive business world you want to make sure that your organization has the skills and strategies to deal effectively with problems of any sort with a win/win outcome.