Workplace stress exists in every industry, and customer service jobs are no exception. Customer complaints can be confrontational, emotionally charged, and often, nothing to do with you. Whether working in a restaurant, supermarket, or in the property management industry, being on the receiving end of conversations with frustrated parties day in and day out can take its toll on your mental health – it’s helpful to have some stress management techniques at the ready if and when this happens.
We all have bills to pay, and simply leaving your job behind is not an easy choice for many to make. That’s why we have put together this article to offer advice on managing stress at work in the customer service industry such as the block management industry.
An essential part of managing stress at work is understanding when and why you are feeling it. If you’re used to the hustle and bustle of a high-pressure workplace, stress can easily go unnoticed until it manifests in a more problematic way. Being aware of how stress can express itself in us physically, psychologically, and behaviourally is key to keeping it under control.
Common physical symptoms of stress include:
· Headaches / dizziness
· Muscular aches and pains
· Stomach problems
· Tight chest / faster heart rate
Common psychological symptoms include:
· Trouble concentrating
· Chronic indecisiveness
· Feeling overwhelmed / worried
Behavioural symptoms include:
· Erratic sleeping habits
· Overeating / undereating
· Avoidance of people / places
· Increased consumption of alcohol / cigarettes
There are many ways that stress can rear its ugly head – if you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms, it could be a sign that work or other personal issues are bearing weight on your mind.
After diagnosis, it’s important to figure out the root of your stress.
It’s not often that customer service is called upon when things are going right. Being the first point of contact for agitated customers means they may unload their frustrations onto you with little regard for your feelings. Dealing with complaints is in the job description, but when things get personal or aggressive, you can use techniques to de-escalate the situation, reducing the stress felt in the aftermath.
Stay Calm: Remember that the leaseholder’s frustration doesn’t have to rub off on you, and if you reflect the same energy back, it’s likely to make things worse. Remaining as calm, courteous, and respectful as possible will help to streamline the situation to a faster, more preferable outcome. But remember, this doesn’t mean you have to take any abuse they throw at you – display some authority if you have to and terminate interactions if need be, but do so calmly and politely.
Be Empathetic: The leaseholder complaining is probably a perfectly lovely, reasonable human being who just happens to be vocally frustrated at the given moment. Placing yourself in their shoes can contextualise their demeanour and help you not hold it against them. Displaying some empathy and offering whatever help you can is likely to disarm them somewhat.
Detachment: Try to distance yourself from the ‘atmosphere’ of the conversation and focus on the problem at hand. If you can get around the leaseholders’ tone of voice and choice of language, you might find a solution to their problem faster, saving you a stressful chunk of conversation.
Being as calm and professional as possible is generally the best way to de-escalate potentially heated leaseholder interactions. However, even the coolest heads may still feel the residual effects of workplace stress, and it’s equally important to have some coping strategies on hand to deal with them.
Balance: Workplace stress may well be a result of overworking, which applies in the customer service industry. Remember to make time for yourself, focus on relationships outside of work, and maybe pick up a hobby, new or old. Sometimes it can feel like life begins and ends at work, but you have to remember what it is that you’re working for.
Breathing Techniques: This is a cliche that really works, and not just in the heat of the moment. Taking a few minutes out of your day to work on some deep breathing is a great way to lower your heart rate, helping bring some peace to your mind and body. Find out more about some techniques by clicking here.
Re-assess your Lifestyle: A healthy body informs a healthy mind, and vice versa. Making sure that you eat right, get enough exercise, and moderate your drinking are effective ways to combat stress. Getting into a healthy routine helps bring some order to your day-to-day proceedings and makes workplace stress feel like less of a mountain to climb. Yoga is also a great habit to get into, as it combines exercise with breathing techniques and balance (literally!)
Hopefully, you now understand how to identify workplace stress in yourself, deal with customer service interactions to reduce it, and have discovered a few methods for handling stress outside of the workplace. Remember, your mental health is important, and if it all gets too much, don’t be ashamed to get in touch with a professional for help – you wouldn’t just ignore a broken leg, and the same goes for your emotional wellbeing.