6 Verbal Aikido Tactics Everyone Who Handles Difficult Customers Should be Using

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No matter what your product or service is or what business you’re in, your employees will have to deal with difficult customers.

I know that’s an easy question, but here’s the problem:

Very few people in customer service actually get the training they need to get an angry customer to back down, regain control and gracefully respond to the customer who demands to speak to a supervisor.

So that’s why I’m sharing these tactics… to show you a fast and easy new way your employees can create calm and regain control with difficult customers.

Continue reading “6 Verbal Aikido Tactics Everyone Who Handles Difficult Customers Should be Using”

New Training Teaches Conversational Aikido to Help Those Handling Difficult Customers

Creating calm with difficult customers is not a matter of using aggressive tactics. It’s also not about letting the customer vent until they cool off or you being a doormat. There are definite tactics, deployed strategically, that will position any customer service professional to create calm, defuse anger and assertively control conversations.

Aikido

Introducing…

How to Handle Difficult Customers Using Verbal Aikido

5 Aikido Principles for Creating Calm, Defusing Anger and Moving to Closure with Difficult Customers

In this special online workshop Myra reveals the 5 Conversational Aikido principles she has adapted from her 15-year study of the martial art Aikido. Employees will walk away from this workshop with specific Aikido techniques and tactics to create calm, take control of the call, defuse anger and move the call to closure. Myra’s Aikido principles have earned rave reviews from such clients as Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Ally Financial, Nationwide, the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange and more. Continue reading “New Training Teaches Conversational Aikido to Help Those Handling Difficult Customers”

How to Handle Difficult Customers Using Verbal Aikido

Myra Golden Customer Service Training Highlight

Verbal Aikido: A non-aggressive, highly effective strategy for handling difficult customers

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Thanks to the Internet and social media, customers are more savvy now than ever before.  Although this sounds like a good thing, the net result is an increase in stress for frontline customer service professionals. According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of consumer services professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  In short, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

In this keynote Myra Golden reveals that extremely difficult customers are determined to force corporations—via the customer service professional—to give in to the consumer demands—reasonable or not.  This means the customer service professional must develop a response plan.

Myra, a former global head of customer care, teaches leaders how to achieve harmony with dissatisfied and difficult customers through the use of empathy, conversational aikido and a solid recovery strategy.

The outcome of this keynote is an audience that is prepared to develop a customer-recovery plan that empowers customer service professionals to understand how to create calm; how to find resolutions that balance the interests of the customer and the company; how to reduce escalations; and how to create a positive conversation.

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“If your organization’s growth relies on improving the customer experience, you would benefit enormously from an engagement with Myra Golden. Her vast hands-on experience in a wide variety of service organizations differentiates herself from many other consultants we have worked with in the past. Our organization has utilized Myra’s online webinars with outstanding results as well. Very high value for your consulting dollar.

Beth Dockins

Former Director, Customer Service, Audit, Admin at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. 


Key Take-aways:

  • Learn exactly what it takes to restore customer confidence and regain goodwill after a service failure.
  • Examine the 6 steps for a customer recovery plan that empowers employees with excellent decision-making and judgment skills, resolves problems at the first encounter and restores customer trust.
  • Discover how your employees can communicate assertively, create calm and take control with difficult customers by using conversational aikido.
  • Explore ways to build stronger emotional connections with customers through Extreme Empathy
  • Execute your new customer recovery strategy faster by using a new fiercely focused project plan that gets all of your horses going in the same direction.

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“I am still receiving compliments on your polished and actionable presentation! You are a complete professional who can connect with your audience through warmth and deep knowledge. I hope to have you back again!”

Michelle Singer, President, American Marketing Association – Tulsa Chapter


Download a PDF brochure of this keynote description

Videos discussing key points from Myra’s Verbal Aikido training workshop 

This video is about the Aikido principle of “don’t push”

This video is about the Yielding technique, another Verbal Aikido principle Myra’s participants learn in the Verbal Aikido workshop

 

Myra Golden

Customer Experience Designer & Professional Speaker

Myra Golden Media
Phone: 918-398-9368
Fax: 832-218-8464
info@myragolden.com

Visit Myra’s Keynote Speaking & Customer Service Training website: www.MyraGolden.com

Connect with Myra on Twitter: @myragolden.

4 Verbal Aikido Tactics Every Employee Who Handles Difficult Customers Should Be Using

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The following editorial was written by one of Myra’s clients, Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange (ICAE), following Myra’s Verbal Aikido Training at their annual conference in Newport Beach.

Myra Golden (Customer Experience Designer) states that customers are more savvy now than ever before.

Myra Golden, Customer Experience Designer, author of Beyond Wow, and a noted expert on customer service, shared with the group her insights and techniques on the concept and delivery of outstanding customer services.

Difficult customers—yes, they exist

Ms. Golden opened by noting customers are more savvy now than ever before.  Although this sounds like a good thing, the net result is an increase in stress for consumer services professionals.  How much of an increase?  Well, according to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of consumer services professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  In short, the role of consumer services now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

Golden shared stories and a new vocabulary* with the group.  Sometimes, she noted, difficult customers can be categorized as the consumer vigilante.  These consumers are determined to force corporations—via the consumer affairs professional—to give in to the consumer vigilante’s demands—reasonable or not.  This means the consumer affairs professional must develop a response plan.

OK, what is the solution?

Golden uses the concept of verbal Aikido—a response plan that stresses non-resistance, harmony and assertiveness.   She encourages customer service professionals to recognize each spends more than 50 percent of their time on the dissatisfied customer—meaning the customer for whom nothing will be right (even if nothing was really wrong).  That focus creates a huge drain on resources for those customers who have a solvable issue.  The dissatisfied customers, or consumer vigilantes, need to be recognized as such and placed in a strategic “customer recovery plan.”

 

Myra discusses her verbal aikido approach in the 2-minute video below

 

About the plan

A customer-recovery plan empowers consumer affairs professionals to understand how to create calm; how to work with customers; how to reduce complaints; and how to create a positive conversation. This is done by:

Understanding the issue is not always the issue—many consumers will accept a mistake, but will not accept if the mistake is not quickly and fairly handled.   Therefore, to determine how best to handle a complaint, consumer affairs professionals are encouraged to:

Know what the customer’s expectations and perceptions are—by asking questions to get all details possible, and

Have a consumer recovery plan ready to create confident, assertive (not aggressive)  responses to address the consumer vigilante.

Strategically calm the consumer by:

1. Acknowledging emotion

Golden points out that anger must be recognized as such or it will escalate into a bigger problem.  Consumer affairs professionals who show genuine concern and acknowledge the consumer’s anger are better equipped to handle issues.  Golden urges the path of non-resistance to create calm from within—thereby inspiring a spirit of calm in the irate customer.  Consumer affairs professionals, rather than feeling defensive, need to use comments such as: “I hate it that you even had to make this call.” “I can understand how frustrating this is.”

2. Relate and respond in the here and now

Consumer affairs professionals are not expected to know everything.  Even stating uncertainty for the next step is an OK response.  This response shows the professional as one who does not make assumptions and who treats the consumer as an individual.  By allowing the consumer to be treated as an individual, with individual emotions and feelings, consumer professionals can work with the consumer without escalating any negative—and avoiding  lock up.  Comments such as, “I want to get to the bottom of this as much as you do,” have been known to unlock doors and save consumer relationships.

3. Harmonize

Active listening with a complaining consumer enables consumer professionals to obtain more and necessary information to help structure a lasting solution. Consumer professionals are encouraged to control the pacing of the conversation by asking questions and learning more—about the situation and the consumer.  However, Golden cautioned, take the cue from the customer—a bottom-line customer just wants answers—therefore asking lots of questions may result in a negative encounter.

4. Lead

Once control has been established, it’s the consumer professional’s responsibility to move the customer to closure—meaning the emotion has been reduced and the rational has been re-instated.

Golden expresses how asking three back-to-back, close-ended questions can help diffuse a situation.

Golden notes this return to the rational as a “magic wand” that can be invoked by asking three relevant, closed-ended, questions, back-to-back.  Why?  Well, the relevant, non-repetitive, and genuinely necessary questions will force angry consumers to shift focus from emotional to factual information.  In forcing this shift, consumer services professionals can lead the consumer toward a solution.  For the insurance industry, suitable questions include:

•    The first thing I need from you is….
•    In case we are disconnected, what is your number?
•    Name of your insurance company is…
•    What is your claim number?
•    Can you give me the exact date of occurrence?

Apply the skill

The consumer professionals attending were challenged to adopt, adapt, and apply the concepts reviewed to the insurance industry (whether regulator or carrier).  As a group, two strong ideas were generated to enable consumer affairs professionals to calm down the attack.  These included:

  • Associating the irate customer with someone you know to help establish your empathy.
  • Providing job shadowing opportunities to see the other side of the fence to help understand issues—so have producers work with consumer affairs professionals or invite a regulator in for a real-time visit.

Finally, all participants were encouraged to identify activities to commit to start doing, stop doing, and will continue to do.  Golden noted this written commitment with all aspects of our lives would help empower change for the better—at work, home or play.

For more information regarding the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange (ICAE), including membership, please visit their website.

 

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Review the full workshop outline for Myra’s Verbal Aikido Training here or talk to Myra about bringing her Verbal Aikido training to your company or conference.