Emotional Intelligence When Dealing With Customers

One of the greatest challenges for me at Trader Joe’s has certainly been handling customers, and fellow co workers. Although technique and problem solving was always something I knew that would be vital to my future as an employee, I never realized how essential it was to be able to figure out how to deal with others. Especially in the cases where that relationship feels negative, or the customer is unhappy and taking that out on me. This past week I had a situation where I was helping out one of my coworkers bag while they were at register. The customer who was buying the groceries was extremely rude to me, making condescending comments on my intelligence when I was not bagging in the way that she perceived best. Although I tried to be understanding the comments were insulting and they would not stop, where I eventually needed to step away as she began to get into my personal space to “teach me how to bag.” I asked my managers for a break outside, and told them of the situation, where they helped me outside, and sat with me to assure me that I did not deserve to be spoken to that way. It was a bit jarring to realize that people are able to be so mean to service workers, but I think that experience really allowed me to be able to separate how much value I put in what customers are saying to me when they are being disrespectful. I realized that going forward if I found myself in that situation again, I could remain calm and get my managers, as I did not need to remain in such a space. From that experience I can say that any customer service job, you should expect to deal with those scenarios, and be able to develop the emotional intelligence to discern what is being said as not a personal attack, and remain calm above all else. I am extremely grateful to my managers who were there for me, and allowed me to take time to recharge from that incident, as well as find the woman and speak to her about the way she spoke to their employees. It allowed me to feel protected and cared for by my employers which is something that helps allow for a positive work environment. Although this experience was not one I would go through willingly, I learned a lot from dealing with a customer who did not treat me with respect.