“He gave us the opportunity to interact and come to aims for further progress”

I’ve often asked to address the topic of “dealing with difficult customers“. While I appreciate the request, I can’t help but think that there is no such thing as a “difficult customer”, there are only “customers with difficulty”.

Separating traits and states is sometimes difficult for us to do. Behaviour, after all, looks the same regardless of the cause. However, I’ve found that people are more willing to forgive those who are in, for example, a self-absorbed state (or phase) than tolerate someone who is a “self-absorbed person”. Furthermore, separating the person from the problem helps avoid the spell of what Ori and Rom Brafman, in their book “Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behaviour”, the diagnosis bias. The authors suggest that “the moment we lable a person or situation, we put on blinders to all evidence that contradicts our diagnosis.”

Understanding that people rarely act the same way in all circumstances is useful in generating the much needed empathy that will sometimes influence the “difficult” person to have less difficulty.

We’ve all had difficulties in life. But regardless of the severity of our difficulties, they need not define us.

I really learned a lot from “Getting inside your patients heads” – learning about the phases a person can go into and how best to deal with people whilst they are in these phases.  This will be very easy to apply, and I will be helped by remembering that the way the person may be acting at that time may just be a phase and try not to react to them but respond to them in a positive way.  I found “Delivering on your Promise” difficult as this highlighted that as a clinic we have a lot of work to do and I personally did a lot of self evaluation to my own role and where improvements can be made. Our instructor seemed to enjoy the subject and that made it a positive experience. He gave us the opportunity to interact and come to aims for further progress. It didn’t feel like a ‘lesson’ and that made it easier to take in the information and use it to relate it to our clinic.

Administrative Assistant, The Harley Street ENT Clinic, London