Category: Complaint Handling

7 Things You Can Say to Gain Control with Challenging Customers

Support phone operator in headset at workplace

If you find it difficult to get your customer to stop telling you the story of just how inconvenienced they were, or are, and to stop rambling on about the problem, it’s likely because the customer is stuck in the past.

You’re going to have to reframe the issue in the customer’s mind. That is, you must strategically move your customer out of a past problem to a focus on the present so that you can offer a solution. Your job, in essence, is to get the customer to move on.

Reframing statements are fantastic in getting the customer to move forward. Reframing does two things for you. First, it acknowledges your customer’s biggest concern. You empathize. Secondly, it ushers in the solution phase of problem resolution.

Here are seven reframing statements that recognize customer concern and help customers move on.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On How to Write the Best Complaint Response Emails

Man with afro hairstyle working at his desk

An apology, empathy, and an explanation of why the problem happened are the keys to writing complaint response letters that restore customer confidence.  

One of the things I do in my practice is write the templates for complaint response letters for some of world’s most renowned brands. My work usually starts with me throwing out all robotic and boring messages that are in use.

Then, I custom create response letters that reflect the brand’s voice. Once I get the brand voice down, my complaint response letters follow 5 steps.

The 5 steps ensure that the complaint response letter restores customer confidence and regains goodwill. Here are my 5 steps with great examples from great companies that know how to regain customer goodwill after the worst has happened.

1. Apologize

Making an apology to customers after things go wrong is positively related to satisfaction with the recovery. When a service employee apologizes to a customer, she conveys politeness, courtesy, concern, effort, and empathy.

Take a look at this outright apology from JetBlue Airlines after a major service mishap. (See the first sentence of JetBlue’s response)

Customer Recovery Strategy: Predetermine solutions to all top problems

When I partner with a company that wants to build loyal relationships with their customers, I absolutely insist that they predetermine recovery strategies for top complaints. This single exercise positions frontline professionals to quickly determine […]

My Client Gave Me 3 Levels of WOW Customer Service!

Last Friday I had the great pleasure of delivering 2 half-day workshops to a wonderful new client, Silverstein Properties. Silverstein Properties is a full-service real estate development, investment, and management firm based in New York. […]

Verbal Aikido: A strategy for handling difficult customers

In my live Verbal Aikido workshops, I demonstrate the martial art Aikido and offer it as a strategy for diffusing anger. I began teaching this unconventional approach to managing conflict after having my breath taken […]

How to Lose a Customer (and your business) Over 8 Dimes

One of the top reasons customers state for leaving a company is a problem was mishandled.  Frontline employees need to be trained to respond to problems with a sense of urgency and to do everything […]

Sorry Works! The Bottom-line Benefit of Apologizing to Customers

Confident Mature Businesswoman At The Office

One of the easiest and quickest ways to diffuse anger, create rapport, and regain goodwill with unhappy customers is to apologize. Offering an apology to a customer who experiences a problem should be a natural response from customer service providers. Yet, recent research reveals the startling fact that 50 percent of customers who voice a complaint never receive an apology from the organization.

Not only does an apology provide “soft” benefits such as creating calm, shaving minutes off of talk time, reducing stress on the employee, etc., but it can also translate into significant and measurable savings in decreasing lawsuits, settlement costs, and defense costs.

Doctors and hospitals are beginning to discover what savvy customer service professionals have always known: sorry works. A new program for doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators called Sorry Works encourages doctors and hospitals to apologize quickly when mishaps occur and to offer a fair settlement upfront to families and their attorneys. The Sorry Works program has resulted in a dramatic drop in lawsuits. The University of Michigan hospital recently implemented Sorry Works and reports that the number of pending cases has dropped and defense attorney fees decreased from $3 million to $1 million annually. Clearly, sorry does, indeed, work.

Does a 2 million dollar savings based solely on an apology sound too good to be true? Let me walk you through exactly why sorry indeed does work… here are the facts:

The Issue is Not the “Issue.” It’s how the issue is “handled.”

Here’s a “throw-back” customer service training video from our early years. But the point remains relevant today. Most times, the problem the customer experienced isn’t the issue at all. The company’s response to the presented […]

4 Tips for WOWing Customers Who Experience Problems

Seven years ago I had a new oven delivered to my home. The Sears deliveryman quickly pointed out that there was a small dent on the right side of the oven. The dent did not affect […]