Customer service is thankless work. You never get noticed when things go right, only when they go wrong. Everyday is a pile of new problems with more customers needing your help. The work is stressful and finding ways to manage that stress is a problem in itself.
Find ways to blow off steam constructively. While at work, consider taking a walk, listening to music or reading through your Yay Me! File.
I recommend keeping a Yay Me! File to read over when I need a morale boost. A Yay Me! File is simply a collection of all the nice emails, notes and Thank Yous I’ve received for work I’ve done. I keep a folder in email where I save all the nice emails I receive. I archive those messages into Evernote so I can keep them outside of Outlook.
I also keep a text file in Evernote where I copy down nice things people have said to me when I’ve done work for them. It can lift my spirits when I’ve had a rough day or when I get overly stressed out.
One of my biggest problems is leaving work at work. Even when I leave work, my mind will often be on the difficult customer I had or a problem I can’t seem to solve that’s eating at me. Try to leave it all behind when you get home. It does no good to worry about the day behind you.
Think of the evening ahead and do something fun. Turn on the TV or play a video game and turn off your brain. Once you’ve stopped worrying about the problem, your unconscious mind will get to work an answer may come to you later that night or when you least expect it.
Managing stress can be one of the hardest parts of a customer service job. All day long you’re helping other people with their problems. It’s important to remember you need help with your own problems and you need to relax and unwind too.
When I get home I ask my wife how her day was and we talk about it. And I get some stories from her about the craziness of managing activities for a group of senior living homes for people with dementia. And then I get to share my day, I talk about the frustrations of the day. I talk about the best parts. I talk about anything that’ been bugging me about the day.
It’s the perfect time to get anything out of my head I need to in a constructive way. I’m not yelling at her. Nor am I blaming anyone for things that went wrong or the troubles I’ve had. But I get the pent-up feelings out so I don’t take those same feelings to work with me.
When I lived alone, I would come home, throw on my headphones and turn some music up. Good thrashy death metal or maybe some super fast techno and just dance around my room. Or sing along and throw myself on to my bed at the end.
It was a great cathartic release.
There is no perfect advice for beating stress since different things work for different people. But find what works for you. I’ve been known to put in a video game and mow down aliens or zombies for a few hours to burn off stress. Or get in the car, roll the windows down, turn the music up and just drive down a beautiful stretch of road.
When I feel the most out of it and just needing to get away, I go to the movies. I love losing myself in some other world for a couple of hours. My problems disappear when the world is at stake or when there’s a killer on the loose who needs to be caught.
Sometimes escapism is the best way.
In the end, I feel better. And because I do, I can be better at what I do. A clearer head leads to better problem solving and making my customers happy.