Use Partnering Language to Create Calm and De-escalate Intense Interactions (Especially now, when customers are panicked)
When a customer reaches out to you about a problem, they usually don’t think things will be easy. They expect to have to push for what they want.
To customers, it’s them against you.
Visually, it’s like this. There’s a brick wall between you and your customer. You’re on one side of the wall, and your customer is on the other.
The customer sees the issue they’re trying to get resolved as being on the same side of the wall as you.
To get their issue resolved, customers have to penetrate that wall.
To break down the barrier, some customers will ask to talk to a supervisor. Some will over-talk you. Others will use profanity.
It’s up to you to stop your customer’s focus on knocking the bricks down. You have to let your customers know that you’re not on opposite sides. You’re on the same side.
You can let customers know you’re on their side by using Partnering Language. Partnering Language bridges the gap between you and the customer, and it shows the customer that you both want the same thing – you both want the customer to walk away happy.
Here are some examples of Partnering Language:
“We want to get to the bottom of this as much as you do.”
“I understand your concern. Let’s take a look and see what’s going on.”
“I can see your point on that, and I’ll do my best to take care of this for you.”
The idea is to let customers know that you’re on their side, and the problem is the problem. The customer isn’t the problem, and you’re not the problem.
I once had a customer service person say to me, “This is no more acceptable to us than it is to you.” Those words took the bite out of my attitude. How could I be upset after a response like that?
Strong partnering language not only shows customers you’re on their side, but the words create calm and put you back in control.
If you find that you need more help with de-escalation, explore my blog, where I have dozens of resources, including good phrases for de-escalating, and lots of inspiration to help you stay in control of challenging interactions.
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