Competitive Edge Mod 4 Managing Stress

Customer service can be a stressful occupation. Usually you are called upon to deal with customers when something has gone wrong, the customers themselves are under pressure at these times and may not be in the best frame of mind and there is always time pressure . You are expected to be pleasant and professional in spite of these difficult circumstances. how do you do it? Today weíre going to spend a little time working on how we can manage the stress in our jobs, how we can take care of ourselves so we can provide excellent service, but even more important, so we can enjoy the positive aspects of our work and minimize the impact of the negative. Letís start by defining what stress is Dr. Hans Selye was a pioneer in the study of stress and its effects on people. He defined stress as the psychological and physical reactions to external events. It is important to notice that stress is not the things that happen to us, but our reactions to those things. Also, stressful event is neither bad nor good. Sometimes stressful events cause us to achieve things we thought we werenít capable of. It is negative reactions to continuous stressful events over a period of time that cause negative effects on our health and emotions.

SO WE CAN DO TWO THINGS TO HELP US MANAGE STRESS 1. Manage our reactions to things that happen to us
2. Manage our lives to give ourselves a break from continuous stressful events TELL Participants, " First , weíll spend a little time reviewing a technique to manage our reactions to stressful events. ASK , Remember the targets of Control" from the original Competitive Edge session?
Explain the following 1st MANAGE OUR REACTIONS This is one tool we can use to manage our reaction to situations. Dedicated service technicians take responsibility for keeping customers satisfied, as they should. But sometimes we may be overwhelmed by the feeling that we are personally responsible for everything that occurs in a service situation. This raises our stress level and makes it tough to maintain a positive attitude. To make quality customer service more manageable, itís helpful to think of what your target of control is in each situation.
DIRECT PARTICIPANTS TO THEIR HANDOUT PAGE WITH THE TARGET OF CONTROL ON IT TELL them you will have 5 minutes to think about a stressful situation you have recently encountered while dealing with a customer. Write down the facts of the situation on the blanks provided. Then write the factors that were within your control, factors you could influence, and factors that were out of bounds in the appropriate circles on the target. ASK some individuals to share what they have written.

2nd thing we can do to reduce stress is manage our lives Divide the group up into pairs or small groups of three people EXPLAIN weíre going to tap the stress management expertise here in this room. Take the next five minutes to create a list of things you do that help you manage stress- things you do that you enjoy , that give you a break. Write them on your handout take 5 minutes to do this. ASK each group what ideas did you come up with? WRITE answers on flip chart -

Answers That CEís gave at NY and NJ Meetings CONTROL - what can I control?- my attitude, words, behavior, actions, response time, take ownership for the problem. Knowledge, learning, education, speed, focus, quality service, reactions. INFLUENCE- what can you influence?- My emotional level, Actions by you and other datacard employees, the customer by listening, training of operators, talking to customer, calling customer, Parts Management, Response time, feedback to customer and DC, getting a contract, Future OUT OF BOUNDS - What canít we do anything about ? Past, Traffic, Death, availability of resources, Equipment we work on, Card or material quality, Policies, Procedures, rules, laws, other peoples actions and attitudes. Getting POís for billable calls. Conflict and stress arises when people try to control other people actions. When the rule of law,standards and procedures should be the controlling factor Stress Management exercises,sports, get enough rest, hang around with positive fun people, use humor, listen to music use relaxation techniques or meditation, hobbies, vacations, Diet, religion, let go of problems, plan ahead.

Skill Exercises By American Guidance Services Inc. 1. Deep Breathing exercises These exercises becomes more effective with practice Take off your shoes sit back in the chair, Breathe in and out , slowly and deeply, but naturally, breathe deeply into your abdomen, so that your stomach swells each time you inhale. Say the word relax each time you breathe out, slowly, deeply, and naturally, you will begin to feel tension drain form your body, think relaxing thoughts like a waterfall, while exhaling , let jaw, tongue, and shoulder go limp, let the rest of your body go limp. continue for five minutes, then resume normal activity.

2. Self-Esteem Exercise Close your eyes and take sever deep breaths to relax your body. Picture yourself sitting in a chair about four feet away . Think of a quality you want to possess. Now picture yourself having that quality. Believe that this quality is yours. Claim it for yourself and act as if you already possess it. Open your eyes.

3. Ways to Encourage yourself (Attitude and response control) Look for possibilities and solutions, not threats and dangers. Consciously choose how you interpret events and come up with constructive ways of looking at situations. Keep your sense of humor and see things in perspective. Make a choice and take responsibility for it, believing that what happens to you is a result of the choices you make. Focus on your strengths and realize that itís not necessary to compare yourself to others. Enjoy your accomplishments. Focus on controlling situations not people. Avoid negative self-talk "I Canít get it done." "Itís Impossible."

4. Irrational beliefs That Cause Stress It is necessary to be loved and approved by everyone. I must be thoroughly competent in every respect and a high achiever in all areas.
My unhappiness is caused by outside forces that I have little control over. When things are not the way I would like them to be, itís a catastrophe. It is easier to avoid lifeís difficulties and responsibilities than to face them. I have to worry about other peopleís problems. I should never make mistakes. Other people are to blame for my anger, anxiety, and frustration. 07/09/98