The Three Cs To Cope With Stressful Service Situations

The Three Cs To Cope With Stressful Service Situations

Jaquie Scammell (main photo) is a sought-after speaker, facilitator and coach working with some of the largest global workforces in retail, banking and hospitality. Service Habits is the second book in her ‘Service’ series, published by Major Street Publishing. In this guest post, Scamell offers her top tips for business suffering from stress during CV-19…

Business owners and professionals in hospitality, tourism, conferences and events are being impacted by Covid-19 in unprecedented ways. Suddenly, you have no control over your trading terms, opening hours (if open at all), and rules of business or engagement. Customers are scared and have lost confidence in the industry and whether it will ever be back to “normal”. And, of course, there is the overall impact on income and revenue.

All of this creates a busy mind, stress and can cloud your perspective and judgement. Whatever happens, you have to keep focused so that when consumers are ready again, you can serve in the best way possible and turn around results.

But how?

Hit pause

Let’s just hit pause a second and breathe. Before we label things good or bad and get ourselves into a mental spin, keep an open mind about the whole picture.

It’s very easy right now to fall into three traps:

  1. overgeneralising – seeing a pattern based upon a single event, or drawing overly broad conclusions
  2. mental filtering – only paying attention to certain types of evidence; for example, noticing failures but not seeing successes
  3. disqualifying the positive – discounting the good things that have happened, as if they simply don’t count.

If you are presented with pressures and challenges, instead, ask yourself:

  • Is there an opportunity to strengthen a relationship?
  • Can we learn from this and develop stronger processes and better training?
  • Can we use this to explore how to create alternatives for the customer?

Remember, we’re wired to focus on the negative in situations. This bias is a product of our evolution: it helped our ancestors to make intelligent decisions in high-risk situations. The reality is, however, many of the things that voice of negativity is designed to protect us from no longer exist.

So how you manage yourself in difficult situations can turn them around, or not. That’s why we want to reframe difficult situations: look for good facts and turn them into good experiences.

Make a conscious effort to look for the positive aspects of every experience, to notice the good in both the world and in yourself – what you learned and how you handled the situation. As you do this, pay attention to any resistance you encounter within yourself; acknowledge any instinct to dismiss or deny positive feelings, but choose not to do that.

Catch it, check it, correct it


Asking yourself, ‘Is this a useful thought in this situation or not?’ is the first step in reframing a thought. This is the ‘catch it’ step. Recognising an unhelpful thought is the hardest part. The next two steps are easy.

Once you’ve caught the negative spin or unhelpful thought, ‘check it’ – look for the good in the situation that you’ve chosen to ignore or that you haven’t yet seen. Be very objective and ask yourself questions like, ‘What if this wasn’t bad news?’, ‘What good could come from this?’ and ‘How else might people choose to see this?’ The ‘check it’ step may take some time or you may get answers immediately.

The final step in reframing is ‘correct it’. The word ‘correct’ can imply that something is broken and needs fixing, but think of it in the sense of correcting course, which is more positive. You adjust your mindset to be more in line with the truth of the whole situation: the light sides as well as the negative parts.

Ask yourself:

  • Can I allow space for what’s happening right now, without trying to control the situation?
  • Can I be okay with the hard and messy aspects of this situation?
  • Is there another way to approach this?

Try practising the three Cs whenever you can, and see the results for yourself.







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Jaquie Scammell

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