One of the emphasis points of phone behavior in a call center is soft skills; i.e., words, phrases, and vocal turns to put an agitated or irate customer at ease and receptive to assistance. Address the customer by name (either given name or title/surname, as appropriate); show immediate empathy; listen to the customer; do not use negative words (or if you do, follow them up immediately with positives); use “normal” words instead of “technobabble”… the list goes on and on (which is why there is a whole industry of people hired to teach other people “soft skills”)…
When we find this behavior in our medical care team, we call it “bedside manner”.
In call centers, customer support agents are graded and coached on their soft skills as well as upon their ability to resolve a customer’s issue. An agent’s pay, shift, even tenure is dependent upon the soft skills he presents to his customers.
In most cases, the catch phrases and techniques I associate with the checklist of gradable “soft skills” are phrases I find in speech rather than in writing, unless I am reading something on improving one’s “soft skills”.
Imagine my surprise when I found these same techniques in a simulated interview between diabetes patients and their dietitians, in a book aimed at people with diabetes and those who care about them!
That, friends and readers, is exactly what I found at the beginning of each chapter of 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet. This book takes a number of the “eschew all, or your care will be as nothing” attitudes towards eating if you have diabetes and breaks them down into their origins, the reasoning behind them, and how modern standards of care and modern research have shown how almost any food can be incorporated into one’s diet, given care, moderation, and a view towards how it fits into one’s overall food plan.
This volume is well-written, with doctor-patient interviews exposing the belief (“myth”), why the patient and/or his family might have come to that belief, and how current medical-nutrition-therapy runs counter to (or at least at some angle of departure from) that myth. The remainder of each chapter explains the history of the myth, the current state of the art, and how one can adjust one’s food behaviors. While the authors – both registered dietitians and CDEs – do not shy away from technical information, they present it in a manner that is understandable by anyone.
If your diet has not changed since the first anniversary of your diagnosis – or if you have been told you can never eat fresh apples again – or if your personal Diabetes Police Force insists that there is nothing you can safely eat – get this book.
Chalmers, Karen Hanson, and Amy Peterson Campbell. 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet, Second Edition (2007, American Diabetes Association). ISBN-10: 1-58-040287-9. ISBN-13: 978-1-58-040287-9. Paperback, $14.95. ADA order number 4829-02.