Customer Service eLearning & Onsite Training

Make Sure You Don’t Push Your Customers, Because They’ll Push Back

When people feel pushed into a corner, they push back. If a customer senses you are defensive, rude, or unhelpful, it is natural for them to push back. They push back with their words, tone, or by asking to talk to a supervisor.

In a live De-escalation workshop recently, I had my audience divide up into pairs. And I had them identify as partner “A” or partner “B.”

Then I said,“Partner A, hold the palm of your hand up. And then I want you to place your palm next to Partner B’s palm.”

I then told Partner A to press against the palm of person B. After a couple of seconds, I asked, “How many of you who had the role of Partner B pushed against the palm of person A?”

About 75% of the hands when up. Which was interesting. I didn’t tell Partner B to press or push. I told Partner A, to press, but I gave no instructions of pressing or pushing to partner B.

So, I asked those with their hands up, “Why did you push against the palm of the other person?” They said things like, “They were pushing, so I pushed back.”

Pushing back, when someone pushes against you is what most of us do, including your customers.

When people feel pushed into a corner, they push back. If a customer senses you are defensive, rude, or unhelpful, it is natural for them to push back. They push back with their words, tone, or by asking to talk to a supervisor.

Minimize escalation in aggression or an escalation to a supervisor by not allowing yourself to push because pushing will almost always result in your customer pushing back.

I describe the Don’t Push idea in this short video. Use this video to teach your employees not to push.

We tend to push in these ways:

Arguing

Telling a customer they are wrong

An unwilling or unhelpful attitude

Saying something like, “There’s nothing I can do for you.”

Make sure you don’t intentionally push a customer, because if you do, they’ll push back, and this makes things much harder for both of you.

If you struggle to get difficult customers to calm down and listen to you, you might need my  De-escalation Online Course, which is part of my Customer Service eLearning suite.