7 Trauma Informed Customer Service Techniques for Challenging Times

It’s a tricky time for businesses to navigate right now. Business owners are doing the best they can to serve their customers, maintain relationships and adhere to health orders, including asking difficult questions around vaccination. There are a few things that you can do to manage challenging interactions so that any potential impacts for your staff or customers are reduced as much as possible.

Across NSW, business owners are having varied reactions to the road map out of lockdown. Some are excited to be re-opening, others are opening in limited ways or with a sense of uncertainty. Business owners are doing the best they can to serve their customers, maintain relationships and adhere to health orders. Staff are having to ask for proof of vaccination and are being met with a variety of responses – willingness, confusion, irritation and sometimes anger.

Remember that customers and staff will have had really diverse experiences around vaccination, different interpretation to trusted information, and may be feeling really unprepared, emotional, stressed or combative. There are a few things that you can do to manage these interactions so that any potential impacts for your staff or customers are reduced as much as possible when you are asking to see a customers vaccination status. Trauma Informed Customer Service helps us to do this with compassion, humanity and self regulation.

7 Trauma Informed Customer Service Techniques to Manage Challenging Customer Interactions

  1. Maintain your calm - centre yourself before and between each interaction. Try to engage your senses and your thoughts - What is something calming or restorative you can see, hear or think about?
  2. Give yourself grace - Remind yourself that you are a good person, doing your job, at a hard time in human history.
  3. Start from a place of welcome and kindness - be welcoming and friendly from your first eye contact and first words of interaction
  4. Be prepared - have a script so that you know what you are going to say if you are challenged. Don't try to argue the point just repeat what is required under the health orders.
  5. Practice Rational Compassion - acknowledge that it is tough right now and talk about what you can do for the customer. Be practical about the help or service you can offer but don't be pushed or pulled into stepping outside of what is allowed. Be compassionate and rational.
  6. Re-frame your experience - If you have had a tough time refusing entry to someone change your thinking about the interaction so that you reduce your stress and anger. Avoid thinking "what a jerk" and instead think "wow, I wonder has happened in their life to make them act that way?"
  7. Care for you - self care will help you to recover from difficult interactions as you nurture yourself and create distance from the event. It will also help you to build your resilience so you are better able to meet all of life's challenges. Work out what things in your life bring you calm, energy, joy, a sense of meaning and a sense of connection and do more of these!

Trauma Informed Customer Service for Challenging Times

Trauma Informed lessons applied in the context of customer service can lead to less stress and greater understanding for frontline staff in all types of industry.

Applied in a business setting, Trauma Informed Customer Service supports the development and maintenance of trusting relationships and helps to protect staff against burnout.

In these unusual times Trauma Informed Customer Service might be just what your staff, your customers and your business needs.

We’ve developed online workshops that can be tailored to your industry and team requirements.

Visit our Trauma Informed Training service page to learn more or enquire today to speak to one of our Workplace Wellbeing specialists.

Did you know? If you operate a business in a bushfire effected region on the Mid North Coast or Northern Rivers of NSW, you could be eligible for free trauma informed workplace workshops through our Business Resilience Project. Contact us to determine eligibility for your business.

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