Abusive Customers Cause Emotions to Run High

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Salena M. Greene

MT302 Organizational Behavior

Unit Five: Case Incident 2

Abusive customers cause emotions to run high

Monday, September 27, 2010

1. From an emotional labor perspective, how does dealing with an abusive customer lead to stress and burnout?

As defined in the reading, emotional labor is “an employee’s expression of organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions at work” (Robbins & Judge, 2007, p. 274). This means that you are expected “project one emotion while simultaneously feeling another.” This can be very mentally taxing on an employee and cause them to feel stressed. Having to bottle up certain emotions in the name of customer service can cause a person to blow up later. This is not healthy for that person or for others around them.

2. If you were a recruiter for a customer-service call center, what personality types would you prefer to hire and why? In other words, what individual differences are likely to affect whether an employee can handle customer abuse on a day-to-day basis?

I would prefer to hire a person who has a medium level of affect intensity. Affect intensity is defined as “individual differences in the strength with which individuals experience their emotions” (Robbins & Judge, 2007, p. 274). As indicated in the reading, a person who is high on affect intensity may react in a way that is over the top when a customer abuses them. They may become highly emotional and that could result in them retaliating on the customer or breaking down mentally as well as emotionally. Adversely, a person low on affect intensity may come across as being insensitive to the customer as they may not react at all and seem indifferent towards the customer or uninterested in fulfilling their needs.

3. Emotional Intelligence is one’s ability to detect and to manage emotional cues and information. How might emotional intelligence play a role in responding to abusive customers? What facets of emotional...