Do you remember the last time you became fed up with a store or hospitality clerk? If they blamed you or disrespected you, it inflamed the situation. If he or his establishment made decisions without informing you or allowing you to intervene, that may have frustrated you even more.

What would have calmed you down? If you felt that the clerk cared about you, offered to help instead of shining you on or brushing you off, and actually solved your problem... I'll bet that would have satisfied you.

When confronted by an irate customer, demonstrate respect every step of the process:
  1. Ask her to describe the situation. If you can take the time, allow her to vent uninterrupted. Maintain a calm friendly demeanor while actively listening. Not many people can keep up more than two minutes of tirade without losing steam.
  2. Accept ownership - without focusing on blame - of the problem and assure her you're on her side and you'll do your best to solve the problem. Frame the conflict as you and her against the problem versus you and your firm against her.
  3. Once you determine the best course of action, inform her of the steps of the solution. Use inclusion words like "we." By using inclusive language, your client feels part of the process.
  4. Follow up with the client once you solve the problem. Emphasize how you both arrived at the solution and allow them to invest in the process and its success.
Don't disagree or cast blame. Never debate a client. You may win the argument but you'll lose the sale and the client. You'll miss out on all her business and any future business of the people she complains to who choose to shun you.

Recall the best customer service you ever experienced. The agent probably said something like: "I can understand why you feel that way. I'm sorry you were disappointed. Let me make it right."

That's all you need to say. No fault finding; just demonstrate concern and empathy. How you choose to make it right is up to you. If the client feels cheated, you could use the discounted upsell to placate her. This allows you to save the sale while adding profit to your bottom line.

Remember: When people feel they've lost control they become out of control. If you allow them to keep their dignity and allow them to feel cared for and respected, you'll convert them into raving fans.
The good news is that most of the time customers feel aggrieved is either due to or compounded by poor service. If you adhere to these principles, by contrast you'll project sincerity and helpfulness, and they'll quickly calm down.

There's a great way to give a client exactly what they wish. I'll discuss this in my next post or you can read it here: It virtually always satisfies the customer and sets a wonderful precedent that boosts the bottom line for many transactions to come. Until then,

profitable business All!