How do you deal with explosive customers? - page 5

by GLORIAmunchkin72

I know you're supposed to remain calm, but that seems to add fuel to the fire...... Read More


  1. 3
    I have learned that the louder they talk, the softer that I answer is what works best for me. This way they have to shut up and listen closely in order to get a response from me. Some people have had to listen to me whisper. Usually just getting the mad person to shut up long enough to think rationally will get the problem resolved. I learned a long time ago that it is no use in trying to reason with a mad person or a person under the influence.

    Fuzzy
  2. 0
    As a manager, I smile, I listen, I take the person to any empty exam room. to talk to them, ( no Audience calms many). I assure them we are all working on their problem, which may or may not be the case. In reality, as in the above post, silence really works every time. unless your getting cursed at and then that changes everything, security if available may need to be called. Just the presence of a uniformed officer, in many cases, will calm the person so there can at least be productive communication. There are many options in which to calm someone, many good ones are suggested in this thread, but just one time I would like to say to the irate person, do you really think I picked you today to pick on and screw your day up? Feel special you won the employee lottery today, we picked you. We are doing everything we can to make your life more miserable than it already is. Just venting.
  3. 0
    When the yelling starts, I whisper. The yellers have to calm their voices to hear my response. True some will never be happy. I have found that those who have guilt issues yell the most. Do ask what would make them feel better. If it is an issue with the patient, or an unserved FREE guest meal that was expected, take it in stride. If possible hand it over to your charge nurse, or supervisor. Sometimes that is what is needed to calm folks down. They want the bigwig not you.
  4. 0
    Years of psych nursing, then floor nursing, now management have led me to agree with the posters that reference acknowledging the person and their distress, asking what they need, apologizing for the distress, etc. With the verbally agressive, but not actually violent people, I sometimes say "You seem so angry that I am worried for my safety, do I need to call security or can we just talk about this?" I have seen that kind of snap people back into reality and enable them to regain control when they are on the verge of losing it. But of course I only use that if I am not actually worried about safety. If I am worried about safety I initiate a "Threat of Violence" emergency call.
  5. 0
    With respect, I disagree with TheCommuter. Coupled with quality measures, customer service ratings now impact the reimbursement rec'd from government and commercial payers. So the pennies on the dollar that pay our wages can be reduced if even the most difficult of patients rates us as low.

    Yes, healthcare is evolving, and no amount of crying foul on our part will change that reality. I am not saying that there are not some patients and families who will never be satisfied (that would be naive to think we can meet everyone's every need or wish) but to say patient satisfaction (customer service) shouldn't apply to healthcare will not serve anyone's best interest.

    Since I was also on the receiving end of healthcare for a family member, I have to say that being able to voice my opinion (positive or negative) helped me through a most difficult time in life. To leave that element out of the discussion does a disservice to why we are healthcare workers in the first place.
    Last edit by catlover314 on Apr 5, '12 : Reason: added ref to posting not included in original reply
  6. 0
    I say very calmly and with a flat expression, "I will speak with you when you have calmed down." And I walk out of the room. Decided this was the way I would handle these people after I almost got decked by a neo-Nazi w/ swastika tattoos (I am a female). I just won't put up with that nonsense, no way, no how. Security is your friend in these types of situations.
  7. 1
    I let them finish their thoughts, (rants) and say, "I hear you, (I am listening) and understand that you are upset (empathize) about xyz,pdq(lets cut to the chase here). Am I understanding you correctly?" (which really is never what I think it is---well sometimes it is....). Then offer 2 interventions ie: "I need you to relay this to my charge nurse, as we need to think about and collaborate how your plan of care is going to work better for you", OR "I need to give you some education on xyz and pdq to speak with MD so and so about and I will put a call in so you can discuss your treatment options when your MD rounds.
    Which one of these options do you think will work best for you?" Then give them printed patient education regarding whatever it is that their problem may be, so that it can justify plan of care, or that they can discuss treatment options with their MD. Sometimes it is really just about control and the patient's feeling of not being in control. If you para-phrase it back to them, give them the option of choosing a or b, and follow through with education (patient's love pamplets and pens to make notes on the pamplets) then they can discuss it with the doctor--encourage them to write questions down for the MD.....
    catlover314 likes this.


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