Compassion – a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it.
In today’s hustle and bustle, I feel that we as humans often forget to stop and think about the circumstances of the people that we come in contact with on a daily basis. The ability to have compassion and empathy for our fellow man/woman/child is often lost in the rush of everyday life. Compassion is something that I think sets Maxons apart from other companies in our industry. I can honestly say that every single person I work with at Maxons truly cares about the people who call us to help them with losses they have at their homes and businesses.
Being a grief counselor, I recognize that the people who call us are experiencing a loss in their lives. For many of us, our homes are our safe havens, our one place we can go to feel safe and sheltered from what can sometimes be a cruel world. When something happens to upset that, it can be a devastating loss for us, much like the loss of a loved one. Often times, while speaking to an insured, I call upon my grief counseling skills and put many of the techniques I have learned into practice. Below are some basic Grief Counseling 101 tips that each one of us can put to use.
The single most important question to ask a person dealing with a loss is, “What happened?” Once you have asked that question it is equally important to remember to keep quiet and let the person explain what they are going through. This is a very important first step. A lot of times, we are the very first call after their insurance company or broker and these calls tend to be very technical. We may be the first chance a person has to discuss not only the technical aspects of what they are going through but how they feel about their world being turned upside down.
Once you have heard what it is that the caller is going through it is very important to follow up with open ended questions to keep the dialogue going. Things like: “It seems like you are having a rough day…”, “You must feel devastated….” Again, once you ask a question, let the person talk about how they are feeling.
Offering hope to the people we speak to is also a help. Letting them know that we are here to help is a great relief to them. Also, checking in with them in a day or two just to see how they are doing goes a long way
Some important things we should avoid saying:
- “I know how you feel.” One can never know how another may feel. You could, instead, ask the person to tell you how he or she feels.
- Statements that begin with “You should” or “You will.” These statements are too directive. Instead you could begin your comments with: “Have you thought about. . .” or “You might. . .”
- “Everything will be okay.” Believe this for the person and hold on to hope, but someone could feel like you are dismissing someone’s grief.
- “Let me tell you about my own loss which is similar to yours.” There will be a time for you to share, but not right now. Your role is to listen and stay with the person’s loss. When we bring the focus to ourselves, we leave the person in a real way. They want to not feel alone. Grief shared allows the person to feel some relief for a time before they need to gather it all up again and make it into tomorrow.
These may seem like very little things we can do but they do make a world of difference to the person experiencing a loss and set us apart even more, from other companies in our industry.
~Submitted by Melissa Natoli, Sales/Project Coordinator