Newbie here. Callers leave me in tears. Advice for toughening up while maintaining authenticity?

I’ve been in IT at a university for about six weeks now. My call center encourages quality over quantity, which is great. They really want us to be authentic and kind with customers.

Awesome, so I get to be caring and help people.

But here’s the problem: When you’re authentic, you’re vulnerable. And when callers are unkind, you get hurt. I bawled my eyes out today over some lady misinterpreting my intentions, saying I was rude and a jerk when I was genuinely trying to be helpful and had apologized profusely, but of course she still left a bad survey and made sure I knew it. It really affected my entire day (though this could’ve been exacerbated because I am dealing with some other things outside of work too, but isn’t everyone?)

Truth is, this job is affecting my life in and out of work. Tonight I sat on the couch and had no motivation or will to do anything, even things I enjoyed. That’s happening a little too often lately. I don’t want to quit this job because the benefits are great and thankfully I get to go part time soon. Hallelujah to that.

But what do you experienced agents do to protect yourself, yet still be genuine? Is that even possible? Teach me your ways! I don’t want to get hurt anymore but I don’t become a robot either.

submitted by /u/jenthecactuswren
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  1. Honestly I thought and felt the same way when I started. I started treating the customers like people that would walk into the store (I used to work retail). Talk like they were in front of you and usually they don’t act rude and shit. Also just remember you’ll never see these people so so what if they’re mad lol

  2. You are correct that people may treat you like crap for no reason. They are frustrated & unhappy. I found a couple tricks: start out with an apology: i like to establish myself as a friend, immediately by saying, “ hi i hope you did not have to wait too long to get through to me today.” Speaking in complete sentences seems to help them relate to me better.
    When i start to feel myself react to their mean-ness, i mute & breathe. Sometimes silence can cause them to calm down enough to hear you.
    I am an empath, so this is the worst possible job for me. But by using my creativity I have grown personally & spiritually past the BS.
    Good luck to you!

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