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Education resource for the group travel supplier


Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:49

Inside Job: 
Why Dealing with 'Difficult' Colleagues Will Lead to Happier Customers

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Too often, organizations promise satisfaction to external customers and then allow internal politics to frustrate their employees’ good intentions to deliver. It’s important to remember that your customers aren’t the only ones who come through your organization’s door every day seeking quality service. Your coworkers and leaders also need to be served. If they’re not happy, it’s not likely they’ll deliver stellar service, and the same goes for you. Inevitably, “difficult people” will creep into your work life, disturbing your, your colleagues’, and your leaders’ workflow and negatively affecting the service you all provide your customers.

“Once you’ve characterized someone as a ‘difficult person,’ you’re already in a lose, lose situation,” says Ron Kaufman, author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet. “It’s like my view on difficult customers: There are no difficult customers; there are only difficult customer situations. Similarly, there are no difficult coworkers. There are only difficult coworker situations. And once you start to think differently about how to manage those difficult situations, everyone can be more satisfied and better served, including you, your colleagues, and most importantly, your customers.”

Service is taking action to create value for someone else, and that “someone else” can be outside or inside your organization. You can use difficult situations to start building an uplifting service culture in your organization from the inside out.

  • Assess the situation carefully. Is your colleague deeply upset or simply having a bad day? Is she angry about an ongoing internal issue that must be addressed and solved, or a one-off situation like a presentation gone wrong? Is this a process problem that persistently provokes, or a one-time irritation that will naturally fade away? “Once you have assessed the situation,” notes Kaufman, “you can then determine whether the person just requires a little personal attention from you—or whether a larger plan must be created.”
  • Shift your perspective. Stop thinking of your colleague as “difficult” and start thinking about the difficulty she is experiencing, and how you can serve her in her current situation. What is it she is concerned, disturbed, or upset about that’s leading to her behavior? Once you realize what a difficult situation means to another person, you can approach the issue with more compassion, generosity, empathy, and patience. This is far more effective for both parties than concluding that another person is difficult all the time or is always overreacting.
  • Lean in and work on the problem together. A “difficult” person often behaves that way because she is trying to get something she needs, or is trying to make something happen. She probably thinks the only way she can get her colleagues’ attention is by outwardly showing her anger. But we know from experience that the way to get better service is to be a better customer. And the same goes for getting the help we all want from our colleagues. "The sooner you say, ‘Let’s figure this thing out. What action can I take that will create value for you? Let’s agree on next steps. Let’s make some promises to each other,’ the better,” says Kaufman. “Working this way creates a culture of colleagues taking action to create value for each other. It takes emotion out of the equation and creates a platform where people can work more effectively with each other.”

Kaufman says difficult coworkers are most likely just seeking service. Recognizing this and handling situations accordingly will prevent further problems and allow that coworker and the rest of the office to get back to a productive and happy working environment faster. This will be reflected throughout the business and interaction with customers.

Source: Ron Kaufman

Read 7061 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 09:57

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