CEO Blog

Cringing with Confidence

Anne Marie Forsyth

Nobody watching Jeremy Corbyn’s interview this week in the second of The Andrew Neil Interviews could miss the cringe factor. The whole episode has been described as a ‘car-crash’, as Mr Corbyn seemed unable to answer questions about his plans in the face of Andrew Neil’s interrogation. 
As the Labour leader tried to steer the conversation towards subjects he wanted to address, he got no respite from the robust, ricocheting questions and demands for response.
In a world where so much communication is conducted in social media echo-chambers, and such extensive coverage given to unchallenged ‘facts’, true engagement can be daunting. Of course, some would make the argument that Jeremy Corbyn should have been super-prepared to deal with the inevitable difficult questions, given the nature of the interview. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has come under heavy fire for missing his interview entirely, seemingly keen to avoid the difficult questions.
Dealing with difficult questions and handling situations with confidence demands not only experience, but of course a full, forensic understanding of the issues at hand. It strikes me that analogous situations arise day and daily, in all walks of life. 
Customer service professionals handle highly-charged calls from people who have been defrauded, or whose travel plans are trashed; who are bereaved and confused about what to do; who are in financial difficulty and under pressure. They can unexpectedly present, already incandescent, with no Wi-Fi, incorrect bills, missing deliveries, no-show engineers, uncollected bins, broken-down heating, awaiting ambulances… the list is endless. 
Each of the millions of interactions held each day require energy, wisdom, empathy, curiosity, tenacity and a willingness to engage authentically. Brands can be built or destroyed on their ability to sense customer dissatisfaction and respond appropriately and on time. Defending the indefensible or attempting to explain the inexplicable can be a real challenge. 
Fortunately, not all difficult scenarios are aired on prime-time TV, but bad experiences are now outed across many channels in our transparent world. It takes a huge effort and investment to not only be prepared for any eventuality, but to build the resilience to deal confidently, survive and even thrive – all in a day’s work. 
For 2020, CCA are launching a new accredited programme to best equip and skill future CX leaders to manage in a new digital age. CCA Inspire© offers organisations of all shapes, sizes and sectors the chance to recognise and develop talent, and to support future development. Tackling the issues we all face each day, the programme will give individuals a broader understanding of the ever-changing environment we work in and their own individual role in achieving success for their business, their teams and, of course, their customers. To find out more about CCA Inspire©, contact Katie White
Have a great weekend!
Anne Marie

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