The Snickers chocolate bar advertising campaign of the 2010s showed grumpy people in confrontational situations. Situations that were fixed by providing the angry individual with a Snickers Bar. The cranky person was transformed and “better” after taking a bite.
If it were that simple!
Working in a club and hospitality industry means that sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with an angry member. And the stress and anxiety it can create can be the catalyst for things to become worse. The ability to handle these situations calmly and with a solution focus can reap great benefits. It helps resolve a complaint efficiently and effectively and provides your venue with information on which to improve.
One of the first steps is understanding what makes people angry.
Anger is a stress reaction; it pushes people into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline rushes through the body and the amygdala, the part of the brain dealing with emotion, goes crazy – pushing a person to act. Countering this is the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls reasoning. The hyperactive amygdala and the rational frontal lobe usually balance each other, resulting in reasoning that prevents people from becoming outwardly angry.
Angry members are those that jumped into action before their mental balance was restored or those who made a calculated decision that they could only get their issue solved if they engage with some power.
It is interesting to note that research suggests that only 4% of your members that become angry will say something. 96% will keep quiet and 91% will just never return to your venue.
In our webinar, “Dealing with Members” we look at ways to position your approach to deal with members and specifics on how to work with disgruntled and angry members.
One of the points of realisation is that, in angry member situations, and interpersonal conflicts in general, the first reaction is usually the cause of ongoing difficulty. When a member loses their battle with their amygdala and “verbally attacks” us, we intuitively respond with our stress and defence mode – fight or flight. But that’s exactly the wrong mindset when aiming to calm a member down.
Instead, the “art of letting go” offers a better response, and its key is understanding that stress doesn’t come from the situation it comes from you! By letting go of the idea that you have to fix the situation, you let go of the fear and the stress.
It’s not the same as apathy and not caring, it’s just the awareness that you can only respond as best as you can. Let go of the responsibility for the outcome. Focus only on the execution.
Another powerful mindset is empathy – having the realisation that you would act similarly in their shoes. With their background, experiences, and genes, your actions would be the same.
You won’t be able to salvage every raging member. Some people have a condition in which they are in a constant state of anger; others will have had too many bad experiences already. No combination of words or pleasantries could save them.
But, at the webinar, we will look at some techniques, and ways of approach, that help smooth those angry member interactions that will invariable occur.
If you, your colleagues or those in your extended network would like to be part of our webinar please register at https://www.elevateb.com.au/club-managers-webinar.