By , January 25, 2017 5:05 pm

Fu

 

这个“福”字,是文昌中学师弟陈泽攀送给我的礼物。先是从广州快递到北京,又由朋友万里奔袭从北京带到悉尼,在春节前送到我的手里。

 

老虎、猴子、小象

By , November 27, 2016 1:46 pm

Yunshu_TigerAthena_Monkey
Elephant_AElephant_B

 

小娃属虎,大娃属猴。小象其实只有一只,双色的,也是给小娃做的。

 

Emotion Coaching for Angry Customers

By , September 14, 2016 10:46 am

Slide1

This is a set of slides that I prepared on the topic of “Emotion Coaching for Angry Customers” for customer facing roles. I am making them publicly available so that more people can benefit from this work. You are more than welcome to use them to provide training to employees in your own organizations, provided that you preserve the original author information. If you need the original PowerPoint files, please drop me a note and I would be more than glad to provide them.

Slide1

When you work in a customer support role, it is inevitable that you will encounter angry customers from time to time. Is the scenario shown on the screen sound familiar to you? We ask the customer a simple question, and the customer shout at us over the phone. No matter what we say, they just won’t listen. It is so hard to talk to a customer that is angry, and we (almost always) try to avoid this type of customer as much as possible.

However, angry customers are like those lovely 1-stars. As we all know, no matter how hard you work or how good you are, 1-stars will come, and they come more than once.

If you worry about talking to angry customers, or you have been intimidated by angry customers, this training is for you.

In this training, we will talk about the theories behind anger, as well as techniques to deal with anger. First of all, we will need to understand how the brain works.

Slide1

So, how the brain works?

Most of us have been exposed to the left-brain and right brain theory to a certain degree. It is commonly believed that our left brain is responsible for rigorous reasoning such as science and mathematics (which is what we do), and our right brain is responsible for creativity such as art and entertainment (which is what we don’t do, at least during business hours). When the people we talk to stop reasoning, we tend to say that “your left brain has nothing right, and your right brain has nothing left”.

But this does not explain why people get angry.

Another theory divides our brain into four major parts the Cerebrum Cortex (or the Cortex), the Cerebellum, the Limbic System (or the Limbic), and the Brain Stem. The cortex is the largest part of the human brain, which is associated with higher brain functions such as thought and action. The cerebellum is also called the little brain, which is associated with regulation and coordination of movement, posture, and balance. The limbic system is often referred to as the “emotion brain”, which is responsible for human emotions. The brain stem is responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure.

As we can see, different parts of our brain are responsible for different functions. The cortex for reasoning, the cerebellum for movements, the limbic for emotions, and the brain stem for life. It should be noted that the limbic system develops in an early stage during brain development, while the cortex develops much later. Therefore we also call the limbic system the old brain and the cortex the new brain. Under certain conditions, the old brain takes over and the new brain is shut down. At this point a person is taken over by his/her emotions, and loses his/her ability to reason. If you try to reason with him/her during this period, the conversation will be very difficult because you are talking to the wrong part of the brain.

So, do not spend time and energy talking to the wrong part of the brain.

Then the question becomes, why would a person lose his/her ability to reason?

Slide1

To answer this question, we need to understand how our body respond to danger. Assuming that you are hiking in the mountain, and suddenly a huge snake appear in front of you. Different people will respond to the snake differently, but all our responses can be categorized as flight (running away), fight (ha! ho!), freeze (petrified, can’t move at all), and faint (ah ou). These coping mechanisms were developed over the evolution process, and have become the fundamental survival function of all animals.

When being confronted with a danger, we act out of instinct instead of reasoning. The limbic system takes over to cop with the danger. The cortex shuts down to keep you survive. If you want to study what snake that is, how big it is, whether it is a native or a foreign species, you do that only when you are out of the danger, not when you are in the danger.

Now assuming that our customer is running a mission critical application on our platform. Suddenly their application stops working. In each and every minute, our customer is losing user, losing customers, facing critics, while the competitors are catching up. Our customer is in a real danger, and the coping mechanism is in action.

Now, the limbic system takes over, while the cortex shuts down. If you try to reason at this point, you are talking to the wrong part of the brain.

Slide1

In such circumstance, it is very important to understand that the customer is not targeting you as a support engineer. No matter what the customer says, you need to keep calm, and don’t take it personal.

Let’s repeat three times – don’t take it personal, don’t take it personal, don’t take it personal. If there is anything I want you to take away from this training, it is “don’t take it personal”.

When the customer has lost the ability to reason, we need to be the customer’s cortex!

But how? And how long will the customer regain the ability to reason?

Slide1

To answer this question, we need to understand the difference between primary emotions and secondary emotions.

Primary emotions are those that we feel first, as a first response to a trigger. For example, we feel fear when we are threatened, we feel sadness when we hear of a death. These are the instinctive responses that we have without going through the thinking process.

Secondary emotions, on the other hand, appear after primary emotions. They usually come from a complex chain of thinking process. More importantly, secondary emotion arises when the primary emotion is overwhelming, makes us uncomfortable or vulnerable. For example, when we are threatened by somebody, we feel fear. However, the feeling of fear makes me uncomfortable, makes me feel that I am a coward. Since I don’t won’t to be seen as a coward, I feel anger. Another example is that I ask my manager for a raise but my manager refuses it. I feel frustrated, but I am not able to change anything. The feeling of frustration makes me uncomfortable, but I don’t want to be uncomfortable. Then I might become angry, or numb, or shut down.

When we experience primary emotions, we seek connections, and we pull others towards us. When we experience secondary emotions, we attack and criticize others, and we push others away.

More importantly, when we experience secondary emotions, the emotion part of the brain take control, while the reasoning part of the brain shuts down. Reasoning becomes difficult because we are talking to the wrong part of the brain.

Slide1

Now we understand that anger is a secondary emotion. The underlying primary emotion for anger is usually fear or sadness, which makes one feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

Again, let’s assume that our customer is running a mission critical application on our platform. Suddenly their application stops working. In each and every minute, our customer is losing user, losing customers, facing critics, while the competitors are catching up. Our customer is in a real danger, and the coping mechanism is in action.

Now, our customer feels frustrated that his mission critical application is down. He feels fear about the consequence – his boss might shout at him, he might receive a lot of complains from his team members, in the worst case he might lose his job. The frustration and fear he is experiencing make him feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. When such feeling becomes overwhelming, he feels a real danger approaching, and his brain automatically switches to “Flight and Fight” mode. The emotion part of the brain takes control, and the reasoning part of the brain shuts down. As a result, he becomes angry and begins to blame and criticize.

As we just said, anger is a secondary emotion. It pushes others away, and makes the communication difficult. In this case, it is time for us to provide some emotion coaching to our customer.

Slide1

The purpose of emotion coaching is to reactivate the customer’s cortex (the reasoning part of the brain) so that he/she can start reasoning again. We do this by leading the customer from his secondary emotions back to his primary emotions. As we discussed just now, when people experiences primary emotion, he seeks connections and is open for help.

We may think that this is a very complicate process. In fact, there are only several simple steps that we need to follow.

And, it does not take long for an adult to calm down if the appropriate steps are taken.

Slide1

The first step is to name the customer’s feelings, using the names of primary emotions. For example, we can say “I can see that you are very frustrated / sad / disappointed when XYZ happens”. When we name the primary emotions, we guide the customer back to his primary emotions. Do not point out that the customer is angry, or tell the customer to calm down. This would make the customer feel shameful, which is uncomfortable for the customer. When the customer does not want to feel shameful, it is very likely that he would choose to convert this uncomfortable feeling into secondary emotions, which is going to be anger.

The second step is to validate the customer’s feelings. When a customer experiences a thread, or a lost, he has all the rights to feel sad, or disappointed, or frustrated. There is nothing wrong with such feelings, and we need to allow our customer to fully experience and express such feelings. By allowing our customer to experience and express such feelings, the customer feels that he is being listened to. Such practice builds trust, and brings intimacy between us and the customer. It opens the door for future communications.

Do not worry about the time you spend on naming and validating the customer’s feelings. It does not take long for an adult to calm down if the appropriate steps are taken. Therefore, continue to stay with the customer’s feelings when needed. You may want to repeat the previous steps when necessary. It is very unlikely that a customer would refuse your empathy.

At some point, the customer will sooth himself and calm down. The reasoning part of his brain comes back and take control. At this point, it is time to teach our customer some general relativity, quantum mechanics and wavelet theory to resolve whatever issue he has.

Slide1

When communicating with the customer, use the “I” statement as much as possible. When you use an “I” statement, you take responsibility, and avoid criticizing the customer.

In the case that a customer made a mistake, avoid using “you” or “your” in your statement. For example, “user ABC did something” is a better wording are compared to “Your user ABC did something”.

When we did something that caused the issue, you can use “your resource” to take responsibility and acknowledge the customer’s lost. For example, “the underlying hardware running your virtual machine instance failed”.

Slide1

一丝淡淡的小暧昧 (林妙丹)

By , September 13, 2016 7:38 pm

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记忆这种东西,之所以美好,就在于有些事情,你记得,对方并不一定记得,从而你完全可以大胆地主观地去渲染一些当年的气氛。或许,我这篇文章的对象就已完全不记得文中所提到的这些事,就如同曾有人对我说过,我曾给过他多大的影响,而我却连他的名字都不记得了的一样。既然如此,大家完全可以把这些故事当作虚构的来看。可惜它又因太过真实,从而没有太多浪漫的情节可写。

十分可惜,我从小并不是个学习太好的女生。正因为如此,我亦从小受到父母的诸多不满和鄙视。从而让我对学习好的男生充满了无限的向往和崇拜。

初中时,我就遇到过这么一个男生。

我依稀记得,考试时他会尽量递给我纸条;我依稀记得,每次我请教他问题,他都会耐心地回答;我依稀记得他曾送给过我一本数学训练题;我依稀记得他因为学习好,英语老师让他去帮忙改试卷,我如何开玩笑地让他给我多分,他笑呵呵地答应;我依稀记得有次我请教一位男生数学题,遭到那位男生的拒绝,我也不知从哪儿来的委屈,居然忍不住当场埋头落泪,他却默默地注视着我;我依稀记得有次数学老师让我上台答题,我犹豫了半天,把粉笔指向黑板上的答案后,下意识地转头看向他,他微笑着点点头,我才打上了勾;我依稀记得有一年春节他送给我一张贺卡,一张再普通的贺卡,贺卡上是一对青梅足马的小儿童,七八岁的男生跪下来送给四五岁的女生一朵玫瑰花,充满了稚气的美好,一张再普通不过的贺卡,让我甜蜜了许久……

呀,原来有关的回忆才这么一点点,几句话就写完了,为什么曾会以为充满了满满一箩筐美好的回忆呢?是的,有什么好写的呢?我们的关系从未更走进一些,从未更明朗一些,从未更亲密一些,仅仅比普通的同学关系多点关注而已,随着岁月的流逝,甚至这些多点的关注都可以被抹杀掉,不留半点痕迹。

上了高中,我们不同班,自然也从未有任何联系。听说,他上了高中就逐渐地跟着一些小混混学坏。我很想自作多情地认为这跟我有点关系。可惜,真的没有。

高二那年,有一次我在宿舍门口洗脸,他跟着一群玩仔嘻嘻哈哈地走过,那时候恰逢将要分文理科。我洗刷完毕,抬头问他:“你是要学文科还是理科啊?”因为我记得他语文和英语都很好。他笑道:“男孩子当然是要学理科啦!”充满了男子气概般地对文科发出一丝鄙视。那是我们高中时唯一的一次对话。

高三时,传来他的风言风语,说他正在追求一个女生。他跟着那群玩仔在女生宿舍楼下使劲喊那个女生的名字,不断地吹着口哨。我提着满满一桶水从他们身边走过,我冲着他笑,他也冲着我笑,彼此都非常的坦诚。

没有伤心,没有嫉妒,甚至没有丝毫的尴尬。我们就如同两个生活圈子里的人,从未有过交叉。如今彼此都有自己的喜怒哀乐,更是淡然得如同普通同学那般无异。

再后来,听说他学习成绩下降得很厉害,他的父母要求他重读,但是他坚持要高考,结果还能考上一个不错的学校。反倒我,原本成绩就不佳,加上报考失利,来到了一所非常不如人意的学校。

大学入学,面临这样的学校环境,我的心情陷入了极度的压抑。我反复在思考着一个问题,我们就非得要上大学吗?我现在拿着这些学费去深圳打工不好吗?哪怕找不到工作,再不济,我去找个中年大叔当小三不是也挺好的吗?

我辗转反侧地思考着这个问题。有一天,我在QQ上遇到他。我告诉他,我想退学了。他十分惊讶,一直在劝导我要坚持下去,甚至着急地问我有没有电话,电话里跟我说。面对着电脑屏幕,我呆住了,从小到大,从来没有人在意过我的学习,或者说,从来没有人这么鼓励过我。小时候,我是被放养长大的,我的父母只知道我不是学习尖子,至于我的成绩到底如何,他们是从不留心的。高三时,我就曾有过一段时间非常的厌学,也丝毫没有任何人开导过我。哪怕是现在,我想义无反顾地退学去深圳打工,亦是无人可说。从未有人告诉过我学习有多重要,你必须坚持下去。如今,隔着千山万水,居然有一个人能如此着急如此恳切地劝导、开导我必须坚持把大学念完。

面对电脑屏幕,我感动得差点掉泪。我打道:“原来你对我这么好。”过了许久,他才回道:“你从来不知道我对你好吗?是啊,好像我从来没有为你做过什么。”又是一句让我感动得泪流满面的话。是啊,我又曾为他做过什么呢?我们就如同两张毫不相干的白纸,淡淡地当过同学,又淡淡地各奔东西,甚至从未有过较深入的交流。

我果真坚持着把大学念下去了,往后的日子,我逃学、重修、谈恋爱、失恋暴走、泡网吧、夜谈聊天、泡图书馆、逛书店,就这么跟着宿舍女生打打闹闹中度过。直到大三,才认认真真地谈起了一场恋爱。

谈恋爱后没多久,又一次网上偶遇,他笑问我是不是谈恋爱了。我很惊讶,你怎么知道的?他说,春节的时候,看到我们从旅馆里出来了,虽然隔得很远,但是我的笑容,他一直记得,所以一眼就认出来了。想来,那是我们认识这么多年来,他说过的唯一一句较为动容的话了吧,但我已无心恋战。

一别十几年。怀孕时,打算在家乡备孕。沐浴着家乡春风与阳光,逐渐回忆起初中丝丝美好。听说大学毕业后,他就毅然回家乡从业。我捧着个大肚子,天天出门散步,偶尔会想到会不会有一天会在街角遇到过去的同学遇到他?那时候的我已在他乡生活十几年,跟过去的同学鲜有联系。奇怪的是,巴掌大的文城,记得我高中时经常戏谑我们这个地方小得就像个镇,就是这么小的一个地方,我进进出出半年,居然从未遇到过一个过去的同学。

又是一晃几年。初中毕业后第一次参加同学聚会,去之前就想好要好好感谢他的一番话了。可惜那次聚会的气氛不算浓烈,大家都煽情不起来,甚至偶尔会出现无话可说的尴尬。畅怀往事时,大多同学都记起我是初二才转学过来的,实则我是初一第二学期就转学过来的,看来大家对我的印象都比较模糊,我也觉得没什么好争辩的。碰杯的时候,我趁机感谢了他一句,感谢他在初中考试时经常给我传纸条。嗯,那么,就没有什么别的好感谢的了吗?

恰逢这时,有位男生提起我初中跟人打架的事,我一顿惊惶。这时,他忙出来辩解道:“不是她,不是她!你记错了!她没有打架过!”那一刹间,我忽然明白过来,我一直想要感谢他的是什么了。

因为小学六年级所发生的一些不愉快的事,让我总是害怕人家把我归类为小太妹那一类。然而,恰恰因为有关六年级的那些事的风言风语,很多人都会把我归类为那一类。我一听到“早熟”“打架”这些字眼儿就会脸红心跳、一阵惶恐,更害怕人家把这些字眼儿冠到我的头上,会更是让我无地自容。

依稀记得,有过一次,一位男生在我背后模仿着我的动作,取笑我矫情,我的脊椎感到一阵阵发烫。这时我看到了他朝我投来不介意的眼光,才让我的心情逐渐平静下来。现在想来,那时候的我已无法承受更多的取笑和嘲笑,我迫切渴望着来自一切的支持与鼓励。

依稀记得,那时候班里的班干部管理纪律,在晚自习,谁要是说话就朝谁扔粉笔或黑板擦。有一次,我正在看书,“哗”一个黑板擦飞过来,打在我的脸上,扑了满脸的粉末,我默默地擦着脸。是他,站了起来,对那位班干部喊道:“你扔错了!她没有说话!”

由于向来成绩不算太好,加之承受着各种压力,我的成绩早已差得一塌糊涂,但仿佛要抓住最后一根稻草似的,我总不愿意彻底的沉沦。虽然大部分时间都在逃学,但是偶尔还会看会儿书。关于打架的事我更是避之唯恐不及,经过六年级的事,我对这类事真是厌恶至极。我会记得,在晚自习时,他会如何耐心地帮我解答问题。我会记得,当我的作文偶尔取得好的成绩时,他会投来鼓励的眼光。

我想,我一直都想对他表示感谢,又不知该感谢什么的,应该是在那个我极其害怕别人认为我不学好,却偏偏大多数男生都会认为我不学好的年代,唯有他鼓励的眼光,让我看到在这个世界的某一个地方,还有人相信我是干净的、我是纯净的、我是无辜的……

【作者简介】

林妙丹,于1995-2001年就读于文昌中学,曾是文昌中学文娱队的一名。现为家庭主妇,业余时间喜欢旅游、摄影、看电影,及阅读。

做了两个包包

By , September 5, 2016 11:29 am

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忙了一个周末,又学了点新手艺。

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