Week six – Stress and anger

17 to 23 October

Nobody’s perfect. However good a company’s processes, however good people’s training, however good their intentions, things go wrong. It is inevitable.

Add to this current pressures to produce more with less resources and reduce costs when supplier prices are rising and the result is the ideal environment for stress and anger.

In a world where many people expect something to be done yesterday, where people let off steam online immediately without thinking, where people work as hard as ever, it’s no surprise that complaints sometimes seem to outnumber compliments. That’s the reason for our focus on stress and anger in week six.

The cost of stress and anger to businesses and individuals

Working under these conditions is not healthy, either for businesses or the people who work in them. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims that stress is now the number one cause of long-term sickness absence.

Sometimes it’s good to pause and put things in perspective. Very often people calm down fast when they know someone is listening to them and taking time to address their concerns.

Our polite prompt on stress and anger has some ideas on how to approach this.

Complaining courteously can result in better service

While a problem may not be acceptable, an offer to put things right is welcome. And complaints should be addressed reasonably. It’s understandable if customers feel angry when they feel they’ve been treated badly, but this must not be communicated through aggression towards staff.

A polite but necessary complaint can sometimes result in receiving even better service. Few people or businesses like getting things wrong and many appreciate the opportunity to put things right. If a business does this with care, it can convert a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

Our polite prompt on how to complain courteously suggests ways of resolving difficult situations.

An ongoing challenge

With every indication that conditions will remain tough for businesses and customers for some years, stress and anger are likely to remain commonplace unless we take action to address them.

For those businesses that do, things will run more smoothly, their customers will be more satisfied and their staff will be happier and more productive.

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