I hope this gets you excited.
How embraced is your EAP by the organization's management for its ability help employees manage ongoing customer service stress?
Are you seen as a major player with this issue?
An even better question is: Do you see the linkage between providing this help to the organization and the continued funding and acceptance of your EAP or department?
Customer Relationship Management, also know as CRM (remember this acronym to scoot yourself into the inner circle of this field of study) is the lifeblood of effective and profitable organizations.
There are so many linkages to emotional health and productivity in CRM, that EAPs are missing out if they are not intimately involved with it. And there is a lot to do.
Employees in CRM have an almost endless list of needs and issues that affect them.
At the tip of this iceberg are:
- improved time management,
- personal organizational skills,
- taking care of yourself,
- handling customer behavior issues, including safety threats,
- learning to say no and other types of assertiveness skills with the customers and coworkers,
- managing work flow and interruptions,
- taking care of your health,
- preventing burnout,
- team issues,
- attitude management,
- goal achievement, and many more.
Last May, there was news about a German scientist who proved that people forced to smile and take on-the-job insults suffer more longer-lasting stress that may harm their health.
The scientist, Dieter Zapf of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt studied 4,000 volunteers working in a fake call center. Half were allowed to respond in kind to abuse on the other end of the line while the other half had to sit there and take the abuse while remaining pleasant.
Those who had to sit there remaining pleasant to the abusive customer faired worse in their mental health outcomes. The customer service representatives who could dish out it like they got it had better mental health outcomes.
If anything, this study underscores and paints a vivid picture of the need to help customer service employees. Who are you going call for the job? Do you see how something like this could rocket the value of effective EAPs?
Certainly this work is consistent with the EAP core technology.
Okay, so you are not an expert on customer service? (Actually, we all have experts on this subject to some degree.) You're not a firefighter either, and yet you may participate in critical incident stress management.
Here's comes the punch line.
All the work is done for you if you have an interest in this area of service delivery.
Here's where to go to get everything you need to put together a wonderful "Customer Service Stress Management Program". The web site is http://www.EzineArticles.com
This Web site has nothing to do with customer service. It is a Web site where anyone can go to post an article on a specific topic of concern to them. Most are written by experts.
At this web site, search for "Customer Service Stress". You will discover 19,600 articles related to this subject. Scan the titles. You will truly be amazed at the popularity of this topic. The shear number implies its importance.
Within these articles, mostly published by customer service experts and those on the front lines, tons of content will leap from the pages that you can grab and incorporate into your service program.
The best part is that every one of these articles can be used by you freely. That is why they are there! Just give credit.
Offering value is what ensures that you will be noticed by those who need your help. The marketplace will respond to activities that solve business problems. That has certainly been my experience.
There is no reason to hold onto the myth of the rung-by-rung approach to greater acceptance EAPs, along with the improved perception of their financial worth. Frankly, I believe in the leap frog approach.
Claim this behavioral risk high ground for yourself and the profession. Then write about it.
Dan Feerst, LISW