A great way to differentiate your company from others is through the service your employees provide.  The quality of your service is directly tied to the attitudes of your employees.

Customer service employees are constantly balancing wants, needs, personalities, and emotions.  It can be extremely challenging to maintain a positive attitude … especially in stressful customer interactions.  The stress can be brought on by the anticipation of a specific customer interaction, the interaction itself, or the inability to shake off an interaction after it is over.

The Good News – maintaining a positive attitude is a choice.

The Truth – having a positive attitude is our responsibility and in our control.

The Formula – three easy steps to a positive attitude.

Step 1: IDENTIFY.  Ask yourself what’s feeding the bad/negative attitude.

Step 2: DECIDE.  Make a decision on how to address it.

Step 3: TACKLE Take action!

I realize it can be easier said (or written) than done.  Let’s walk through one of my most memorable customer interactions.

The first semester I worked as a college instructor, my students (customers) sniffed out my ‘greenness” as a teacher in a formal education setting.   Although formal hazing or initiation rituals of new teachers didn’t exist, students gave me a run for my money.  A particular student known for challenging me repeatedly asked the same question to which I did not have an answer for … on the day the Dean was observing my teaching.  I could feel the stress transform into red blotches on my neck and cheeks and then into a negative attitude toward the student.

Step 1. IDENTIFY. My insecurity about my teaching skills and the unknown perspective of the Dean was feeding my negative attitude.

Step 2: DECIDE.  1) I need to accept responsibility that I do not have the answer and 2) I need to be okay with not knowing everything.

Step 3: TACKLE.  Tell the student that I would find out the answer to share at our next class meeting and then move on with the class.

I was able to grab on to a positive attitude and it enabled me to continue the class with professionalism and control.  (If you are wondering what the Dean said, well, he told me I handled it just as I should have.  What a relief!)

Here is a favorite quote that helps me to maintain a positive attitude!

Everything can be taken from a man except the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  ~Viktor Frankl, Author and Holocaust Survivor