When you work in a customer facing job, dealing with irate customers is, unluckily, just part of the job.
But what do you do when customers cross the line from standard grumpiness to downright bullying? If you have spent a lot of time dealing with excessively angry and rude customers, it can cause emotional damage that leaves you feeling miserable for days.
Let’s discuss some of the best strategies for dealing with the trauma of angry customers.
Take a Break
For many, the emotionally damaging part of dealing with angry customers is their frequency. Being constantly surrounded by negativity is almost certain to end up causing a breakdown.
The best way to heal from this type of stress is to make a little time for yourself. Taking a break can be as simple as just saying “I’ll go look in the back for you.” Then go take a few deep breaths in the stock room.
This gives you a little chance to recharge before having to go back to dealing with the customer. Outside of work, self-care is even more important. Seek out activities like nature hikes, yoga, or art. Adopt hobbies that have relaxing and therapeutic qualities. This can help give you the time you need to recover from your emotional injuries.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Do not be afraid to get help from a professional. Regularly chatting with a therapist can give you the chance to explore your emotions. Explore your feelings instead of letting them build up inside.
You might be surprised to realize just how helpful a therapist can be at teaching you healthy coping skills. With their keen understanding of others, they may be able to provide you with tips for handling difficult customers. If you are hesitant about going to therapy due to the high costs, you may want to bring it up with your manager. In some cases, your company may be legally responsible for assisting you with treatment from a work-related injury.
Talk to Your Company About the Problem
It is possible to cope with the problem on your own. However, there is usually no reason to try to handle it yourself. You should always feel free to bring up potentially dangerous problems with a supervisor. Especially topics like harassment from clients. Be prepared with a few suggestions of what you would like the supervisor to do.
This can include:
- Assigning you to a position where you interact with customers less.
- Starting a company-wide policy barring service to rude customers.
- Asking for the ability to take a break when a customer starts yelling at you.
Companies are required to create a safe workplace for their employees. Legally, they should assist you with avoiding the mental dangers of irate customers.
Sue for Emotional Distress
If none of your supervisors are willing to step in and address the problem, you may want to consider holding your company legally responsible. An employee who is facing emotional distress due to a negligent company can sue the company for emotional distress.
Suing for emotional distress may be your last resort. Always try to identify the root cause of your distress. Then, take a look at what you’re feeling. Are you unable to sleep? Have anxiety? Panic attacks? Headaches? Are you more irritable than before working with customers?
If at least three of those symptoms apply to you it’s time to take action. You may not be the only victim as angry customers aren’t a rare species.
Take note than an additional reason to sue may be workplace harassment. Is your manager purposely making you interact with angry customers? They might see it as exposure therapy, but they’re causing you emotional trauma.
Please keep in mind that if you want to go down this route, you will need plenty of evidence. Therefore, it is a good idea to discuss the case with a lawyer and ask for advice on what sort of documentation you should collect.
Dealing with emotional injuries caused by angry customers is not easy. The best way to tackle the problem is refusal of service. But you do need your company and your manager’s help. Taking up relaxing hobbies is also good for your mental health. So is speaking with a therapist. And, ultimately, you can always sue for emotional distress.