Everyone who works in client relations must know that what they actually are most times is the s**t filter. We are the first point of contact when it hits the fan, and right there to take it in stride. The disconnect happens when our client unloads all of their s**t on us and takes none to the next person they meet, thus leaving them to wonder what is it that makes that front office person break down so often.
When you get hired to be “the face of the institution” – a great pride and weight bestowed upon you and you are made very aware of that – nobody talks to you about being the s**t filter. Any good manager will realize that these are essentially intertwined and the latter will really be key in realizing the former. Because regardless of how well made up a face is and how wide the smile, if you throw s**t all over it and never clean it up and air the room, it will stink and look disgusting.
One very important aspect that should be talked about with anyone hired in client relations is their mechanism of cleaning up all the s**t that is being thrown at them, sometimes daily. Questions like: What do you do to re-center? How do you manage to unload all of the s**t you take daily? Do you have any strategies for reacting when s**t is thrown at you? should be at the heart of the interview for any position involving client relations and continuously monitored.
We may think that this is too “right brainy”, but these elements will make or break your client relations employee. Beyond providing training in “how to say no politely” or “how to manage conflict dialogue”, all client relations employees should be provided with personal coaching seminars in which to understand the power of mindfulness and relaxation, discover their outlets and learn to connect in a way that is genuine, from a place of detachment so that they may handle the s**t throwing in a professional and personally non burdening manner. While these may sound like voodoo to some managers, I have understood that the way we manage to unload, re-group and process everything that is being thrown at us is key, enabling us to move forward and not get buried.