How to ‘flip’ an angry customer

Even the very best ‘Value Added Service’ tech will hit the occasional complaining client. (Hopefully not literally!) And your natural tendency is to justify and/or defend your company against what you are convinced is a totally unfair complaint!

DON’T DO IT! Instead, just A) let the accusations flow, B) don’t contradict your client, C) make ‘affirmative listening sounds’ and then…

Use my 3-step “Emotional Judo” approach!

Judo 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! If so, sincerely thank your customer for sharing their concerns!

Judo 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. (As I’m sure you are!)

NOTE: By first THANKING an angry client and then APOLOGIZING you have literally ‘knocked the wind out of them’ emotionally. So now…

Judo step #3-  REASSURE your customer by saying, “I’m going to do everything possible to resolve your concern.” You are “going to do everything possible”, aren’t you?  Then why not tell them?

NOTE: In SFS Training I call this Step #3 ‘taking ownership’ of a client’s complaint and it is an incredibly reassuring Moment of Truth. Do this and you’ll see the anger melt away from an upset customer! (BUT you first need to ‘flip the customer’ by doing Step #1 and Step #2 first!)

Once again, remember that customers are ‘all steamed up’ when they call you. So you must first of all ‘knock the wind out of them’ by using this 3-step Emotional Judo system. Now that your customer is all quieted down (and not a second before) you can then A) calmly interview them and B) of course cheerfully fix their concerns while also C) engaging in ‘Symbolic Atonement’. Let’s talk about these steps real soon!

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 (actually worst!) ‘angry customer story’? Come share it in our Strategies for Success: Growing Your Business Facebook Group! (You don’t have to be a SFS Training graduate to join us.)

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