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Customers Policies and Procedures Safety Sales and Selling Stress Threats Atmosphere Anger

I work for a large company in the customer relations department, and I receive many complaints from angry customers. Some of the callers become extremely irate and resort to verbal abuse and profanity. Our company policy is to continue the call even if it becomes a personal threat. Failure to adhere to this policy can result in disciplinary action, including termination. What do you suggest?

This is a real double-edged corporate sword: your callers threaten you, and if you are not willing to take it, your employer threatens you with termination. What's wrong with this picture?

Your employer appears to be actively unconcerned with protecting the employees from intimidation, providing a safe and hospitable work environment, and managing issues that generate excessive stress for the employees. One step is to let your employer know that this type of environment often leads to Workers' Compensation claims at the very least.

It is also important for your employer to understand the fact that customer relations people need a broad range of state-of-the-art training. This includes education in active listening, trust-building, creative problem-solving, persuasive communication, and much more. It is also helpful to have back-up policies and procedures to deal with particularly difficult situations.

In terms of the broader picture, there appears to be a need to look at whatever may be going on in the company that is causing customers to go ballistic. And, one very important way to make productive changes in internal and external operations is for management to listen to the people who are paid to listen, namely the customer relations staff.

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