The Bliss Blog

customer service

Today while speaking with a co-worker, we were reflecting on the ways in which we handle difficult clientele. I laughingly shared a story with her about a time when I was working in a psychiatric hospital and a patient was lashing out angrily as he hurled curses across the desk. Although I could feel my own ire rising, I took a deep breath and responded as calmly as I could, “I don’t get paid well enough to get cursed out by you. Knock it off.” He volleyed back, “Then maybe you should get another job.” I  responded, “Remember that I am the gatekeeper who helps with your discharge, please be nice to me.” And I added, “I’m speaking to you respectfully. I ask that you do the same.”  He harrumphed his way out the door but returned the next day and apologized for his behavior. I accepted and we started anew.

Over the years, there have been blessedly few altercations with those I have served as a therapist. Sometimes there is a gap between what they expect of me and what I am able and willing to deliver. My intention is always to empower and not enable clients, guiding them to make personally positive and pro-social choices. I sometimes fall short and need to re-evaluate my interactions with them.

An adage is that we do business with those we ‘know, like and trust’.

My co-worker used to work for  Jamba Juice. When in training she said they learned an acronym to help resolve conflicts.





If someone is disgruntled, chances are, they just want to be heard. There is something amiss, a disappointment or challenge, so saying, “I hear you,” is a step in the right direction. Active listening is one key to allowing for the speaker to be attended to and feel respected.

Acknowledging that not getting needs met can be frustrating and even going so far as saying, “If I were in your position, I might feel the way you do,” could defuse the emotion.

Making amends and finding a way of accommodating the person’s needs could satisfy their desires that went unmet in the first place.

Expressing gratitude for their business seals the deal.

Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest wrote a book called Who’s Your Gladys? which focuses on being customer service oriented. Marilyn had been a guest on my radio show called It’s All About Relationships a few years ago and in it, she expressed the importance of knowing and meeting each client/consumer’s unique needs. I think of it as a dance of relationship that is sometimes graceful and at other times, we find ourselves doing our best to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.

To maintain a business, regardless of the field, it is crucial to come from the heart (hart) and keep the customer satisfied.

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