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Do These Three Things to De-escalate Immediately with Customers

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I overheard one of my employees saying to an upset customer, “Sir, I work in our corporate office. I had nothing to do with the problem you’re talking about.”

She attempted to get the customer to calm down. But you know what? That didn’t calm the customer. Her words made the customer even more intense.

I pulled my employee aside, and I explained to her that she was escalating the situation with the very words she hoped would get the customer to back down.

The thing is, with de-escalation you have to take action in the present to move toward a calmer state, and toward a solution. You can’t fight fire with fire like my employee was trying to do, you have to be the water that puts the fire out.

De-escalation requires you do three things. You have to create calm with a customer who is agitated; you need to assertively take charge of the situation to pre-empt more intense emotion, and, you must move the interaction forward.

1. Create Calm

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When You’re Responding to a Complaint Over Chat, Text or Social Media, Your Reply Must Do These 3 Things

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Your interactions with customers who have experienced a problem need to be structured in such a way that you restore the customer’s confidence in your company, and you regain their goodwill.

You can do this in just three steps, whether you’re talking to your customer over email, chat, text or social media.

1. Acknowledge Concern

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

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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:

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This Is How You Get Customers To Accept Your Word As Final

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Do you find it difficult to get customers to accept your word as final? Like, do they just come back and ask their question another way. Or even better, do they ask to talk to your manager?

The thing is, we all need to get better at making our answer the final answer. It’s pretty easy to give a firm answer when you have the right approach.

Making your answer the final answer comes down to two things.

You must be assertive, and you must be direct. I talk about how to make your answer the definitive solution in the short video below.

In the video I made for you, I share an example one of my clients shared with me. He worked on the escalation team for a Timeshare company. He had to talk to customers who were ready to get rid of their timeshare for one reason or another but were told they couldn’t unload that mortgage because the contract was for life. It lived on even after the owner died.

I have a module dedicated to how to make your word the definitive answer in my De-escalation Online Course, which is part of my Customer Service eLearning suite. If you or your employees struggle at all with how to get challenging customers to back downtake a look at my De-escalation Training Course.

I share my client’s approach to getting his timeshare customers to accept his no as the final answer every single time. Hint: He did it by being assertive and direct. Watch my video to learn how to get your customers to accept your word as final.

So, again, if you or your employees struggle at all with how to get challenging customers to back downtake a look at my De-escalation Training Course.

20 Things to Say to Regain Control with Challenging Customers (Free Packet)

How to Respond to the Yelling or Cursing Customer – Plus More Diplomatic Phrases to Help You Regain Control in 9 Common Situations with Difficult Customers

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Get your packet now and share with your employees.

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The “Feel, Felt, Found” Method for Empathy

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Today I’m going to show you how to use the Feel, Felt, Found method to express empathy to your customers. What’s great about the Feel, Felt, Found Method is it gives you the perfect response when you can’t give the customer exactly what they want. It helps you to be more relatable, and to foster a sense of connection with customers.

The Feel, Felt, Found method is easy to use.

First, you let the customer know you can relate to how they feel.

Then, you explain to your customer that you’ve had other customers who have felt the same way. This helps your customer to realize two things: first, that you get how they are feeling and also, that they aren’t alone. Other customers have been where they are.

And finally, you tell the customer what you, or other customers, have found to work in this situation. This is where you offer empathy and a possible solution, all in one.

The basic model for Feel, Felt, Found is:

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