How to ‘flip’ an angry customer

Even the very best ‘Value Added Service’ company will hit the occasional complaining client. (Hopefully not literally!) And your natural tendency is to justify or defend yourself against what you usually view as an unfair complaint.

Don’t do it! Instead, just let the accusations flow, don’t contradict them and then…

Use my 3-step “Emotional Judo” approach!

Step #1- After the customer has “dumped” on you THANK THEM for letting you know about their concern.  (After all, aren’t you grateful that they are dumping on you instead of complaining to their neighbors/ their adjuster or worst of all on the Internet!)

Step #2- APOLOGIZE for the disruption in their lives.  Note that you are not automatically accepting guilt here.  (Yet!)  Instead you are truly sorry that they had to call you.

Step #3-  REASSURE your customer by saying, “I’m going to do everything possible to resolve your concern.” (You are, aren’t you?  Then why not tell them?)  When you “take ownership” of a client’s complaint it is an incredibly reassuring Moment of Truth.

Remember that customers are “all steamed up” when they call you. So you must first of all “knock the air out of them” by using this 3-step Emotional Judo system. Now that your customer is all quieted down (and they will be) you can calmly interview them and then of course cheerfully fix their concerns while also engaging in ‘Symbolic Atonement’.

By using this approach you will create ‘Turbo Cheerleaders’ out of previously angry customers.  They might even go online and become ‘Cheerleaders on Steroids’ by posting about your gracious complaint resolution!

Steve Toburen

PS  What’s your best (worst) “angry customer” story?

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