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Page Title: Maintaining Self-Control
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response   on   your   part   may   serve   to   justify   the customer’s  negative  attitude. A calm, confident manner is the best approach. When you do not respond with anger or rudeness to a customer’s  emotional  outburst,  you  have  taken  the  first step  toward  solving  the  customer’s  problem,  whatever its nature. Maintaining  Self-Control Earlier when we discussed your attitude toward customers, we were taking about customers in general. Although personal interaction isn’t difficult when your customers  are  pleasant,  it  may  become  difficult  when the person is unpleasant. Occasionally, you will have a customer who seems to rub you the wrong way. No matter how hard you try, you can’t remain pleasant or friendly because of the customer’s  attitude  or  manner  of  speaking.  In  this situation the best solution is usually to keep the contact as impersonal as possible. Ignore the customer’s manner and attitude and concentrate on the problem. Your performance is viewed by the customer, your coworkers, and your supervisor. For them to rate you as a person who does your best work, you must maintain self-control. Running out of patience and allowing your temper to flare reduces your ability to think and act properly. Determining the Specific Problem Frequently when customers have a need, they tell you the results they want instead of telling you the problem; you then must identify the nature or cause of the  problem  and  provide  a  satisfactory  solution.  Case Number  4  is  an  example  of  this  situation.  In  this example,  SN  Frost  wanted  to  know  why  he  wasn’t allowed to take the advancement examination so that he could advance to PO3. Before the PN could answer that question, she first had to identify SN Frost’s specific problem. You must be familiar with all areas of your rating to be able to identify specific problems and to know where to find specific answers. For example, to identify a specific health problem, medical personnel must know the  symptoms  of  certain  illnesses.  Once  they  have identified the illness, they must know where to find solutions to treating the illness. In the same way, you must be able to identify the real problem behind the customer’s actions and words. Once you have identified the problem, you must know where to go for a solution. Identifying  Contributing  Causes Most customers have routine, easily identifiable problems. You can solve these problems without any great difficulty. However, there are exceptions, such as in Case Number 5. In this instance, a problem of no pay resulted from an error that had occurred at the previous command. The problem was further complicated by the customer’s emotions. To solve the problem, both the customer and the contact point representatives had to have a mutual desire to achieve results. The YN and the disbursing officer had to identify the problem and then take  positive  action  to  correct  it. Contact point representatives must be especially alert at all stations that serve as home ports for ships. Because its natural for ships to deploy, it is just as natural for the home port to be a massive contact point for spouses remaining behind. All Navy spouses will vouch that everything  generally  runs  smoothly  until  the  ship disappears  over  the  horizon.  Then  the  roof  caves  in!  When both partners—husband and wife—are at home, both can work jointly to solve problems; but when alone the spouse must  handle  the  problems  the  best  way  possible. 3-5

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