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Always Link the Communication Chain In Customer Interactions

Myra Golden De-escalation Session .001

Psychologists talk about what they call the Communication Chain. The Communication Chain says that when a person puts out a verbal message, they expect a response to that message. That first message is a link in the communication chain. If there’s no response to the link, the chain is left unlinked or broken.

Let’s say that instead of reading this article, you’re a participant in one of my workshops. And let’s say, I start the training off with, “Good morning!”

And let’s say, that when I say good morning, the room is silent. No one says a word to me. How do you think I’d feel, if I opened with a high energy greeting, and not one person said a word?

I’d feel awkward. Embarrassed. I’d probably be thinking, this is not going to go well.  Whatever I’m thinking, or feeling, it’s negative, right? And my next response would be dictated by the negative feelings in my head. I might not be my best as a trainer, because I’m a little embarrassed, and feeling rejected.

If most of the people in my live audience, in my example, said back to me, Good morning, the chain would have been linked; I wouldn’t have felt rejected, and all would’ve been well.

When the link is broken, people can feel rejected, slighted, or angry. – You don’t want your customer to feel any of these emotions. Avoid negative feelings by linking the communication chain. You link the chain by acknowledging whatever your customers put out there.

Here are some good examples of how to acknowledge concern:

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Use the Right Language to Build Rapport and Sound Personable In Chat

Chat symbol and Quotation Mark

I once chatted with QVC about the status of a return. I just wanted to confirm that my return was received, but I walked away from the chat session with a WOW reaction. The WOW started with this message from the Representative: Continue reading “Use the Right Language to Build Rapport and Sound Personable In Chat”

What You Can Learn From Doctors About Delivering Bad News to Your Customers

African American Doctor

Five years ago my dad needed to have a quadruple bypass, and he needed to have 3 of his heart valves replaced. The surgery came with significant risks. There was a 10 – 15% chance of death during or shortly after surgery.

There was a risk of stroke or heart attack during the operation. My father didn’t want to have the surgery – because of the risks, and based on things he was hearing from other people.

My sister arranged a meeting with my Dad’s surgeon and our whole family, where we could ask questions about the surgery so that my Dad could make the best decision.

The surgeon walked into the exam room to meet with us. He greeted us, shook our hands, and took a seat across from my Dad. I was the first to ask a question. “If my dad doesn’t have this surgery, what are we looking at?”

Here’s what I want you to hear; the way the surgeon answered my question. He turned to face me, and he said, Continue reading “What You Can Learn From Doctors About Delivering Bad News to Your Customers”

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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Your Written Response to Customer Complaints 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

Continue reading “Your Written Response to Customer Complaints Must Do These 3 Things”

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:

Continue reading “Make Sure You Don’t Push Your Customers, Because They’ll Push Back”