For the Interviewer- Coping
During 40 years of providing Counseling, I learned that not everyone is entitled and therefore not everyone leaves the interview happy.This can be stressful for the service provider. I suggest the enclosed strategy.
Interviewing-Coping with the stress of an interview.
Interviewing: Whether you are working as a Customer Service Representative, Counselor or Social Worker, or an Intake Specialist you will be seeking information or providing information to your clients. You are in the above occupation to assist others to improve their situation. Regardless of the type of service you are providing, eventually one of your customers will question or challenge the information you provide, your sincerity, or even your integrity. Your commitment to provide a professional service will be of no avail in the eyes of your accuser. This can be disheartening, and depending upon the degree of tension or stress this creates, could have you question whether you should continue in this role.
In training others to work in the customer service or counseling field I have cautioned them about being overwhelmed and even feeling burned out. Remember: needy people can be demanding. Depending upon how desperate their situation is people may hear what they want to hear, or hear what they fear. Individuals seeking assistance have sometimes relied upon word-of-mouth from others to determine if they should seek help. The accuracy of the information they have received can be questionable. The services they seek will almost always have specific criteria which must be met to qualify for the benefit. Most individuals in the above occupations are given specific laws, regulations, or guidelines which must be followed in administering benefits. Many of the people seeking your services will qualify for the benefits sought, and the care provider is grateful to be able to meet the needs of the individual and assist the client to receive them. Not everyone is entitled to receive the benefits they are seeking, and must be told so, advised of appeal rights if there are any. This can be disheartening not only to the client but to the service provider as well.
Remind yourself that your role is to administer the benefits provided by the agency or organization. You did not write the regulations or laws you were provided when you were hired. As you discuss the eligibility criteria for benefits, avoid using the word “you” as you discuss the eligibility criteria. The individual’s entitlement is based upon the regulation, and they must meet the criteria established. Make sure the individual does not feel as if the denial of the benefit is based upon your personal feelings. Your professionalism should always be more prominent than your personality. They should not think you've had a bad day and you're giving them a hard time.
For that situation in which the interview ends with a disgruntled customer, who expresses disdain for you, continue to be as courteous as possible until the interview ends and they have left. Return to your desk and “The Folder”. A manila folder labeled Thanks! should be in your desk. This is the folder you keep with all the cards, letters, or e-mails from previous customers who have expressed gratitude for your hard work. In some positions your population of clients may not be so inclined. A 3 x 5 spiral notebook can serve the same purpose. When Mr. Customer receives the services you have provided him, (and it is doubtful he will send you a card or letter, or an e-mail) and expresses his appreciation for your services write down his or her first name and last initial. Date this comment, and quote or approximate the gist of their sentiments.
Later, when you finish the interview with the unhappy argumentative customer, return to your office and review the folder of those who appreciated your services. Jesus’ parable of the 99 sheep tells of one that was lost. There may be 99 who appreciate your services to the one who does not!