“Verbal Aikido”- A non- aggressive strategy for regaining control with difficult customers

Format: 2-hour or 4-hour classroom training

“Myra’s positive attitude really makes me feel that one person can completely change another’s state of being.”

Pablo Martinez, Consumer Affairs Specialist, Kellogg’s

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  • Workshop attendees have said, most intriguing and informative seminar I have been to in my life! and “Each one of us walked away with something new, and all of us feel we could have sat and listened to her for days!
  • Training is customized to your needs. Myra meets with your management team before the training to discuss your objectives and she reviews a sample of your phone calls to help her understand where you are today in handling difficult customers.
  • Myra is known for her high engagement, stories and humor – your people will love spending the day with her!

According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of customer service professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  The Newsweek article states that the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

In this training 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 have an assertive response strategy.

Myra, a former global head of customer care, teaches customer service professionals how to achieve harmony with dissatisfied and difficult customers through the use of empathy, conversational aikido and assertiveness.

The outcome of this training is employees who are prepared to create calm, find resolutions that balance the interests of the customer and the company, reduce escalations, and create a positive conversation with challenging customers.

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Myra discusses her Verbal Aikido Training in this 2-minute video

 

This program is perfect for:

  • Call Center Representatives who handle complaints on a regular basis
  • Public sector employees who struggle with the demanding public (Department of Insurance, Motor Vehicle, etc.)
  • Employees struggling with talking to difficult customers
  • Companies needing help with call control
  • New hire training

 

Talk to us about scheduling Myra to deliver Verbal Aikido training for your team.

 

Here are 6 Aikido tactics Myra teaches in the training

1. An Aikidoist strategically calms down the attack

This is done by both the use of relaxed body posture and open hands. Verbal attacks from irate customers need the same calming strategy. In Aikido, the master will step aside rather than confront the attack. This takes the power and speed out of the attacker and allows the master to stay centered and calm.

How this works with a difficult customer

When your rep responds to an angry customer with Clearly, we’ve upset you and getting to the bottom of this is just as important to me as it is to you.” anger begins to dissipate. She’s addressed the anger directly and non defensively and she hasn’t been pulled into the drama of the attack.

 

2. Aikido never meets force with force

In fact, there are no direct attacks and very little striking or kicking in Aikido. This is one of the things that makes Aikido so different from other martial arts.

How this works with a difficult customer

When dealing with angry customers it is natural to respond to an attack with an attack. If the customer yells, your rep may escalate his voice. When the attack gets personal, he may become defensive, counterattack or maybe he’s less willing to work with the customer. While he may feel justified in launching an attack because he’s been attacked, he must realize that a defensive (forceful) response only escalates the original problem.

Learning from Aikido masters, employees learn to not attack back defensively. Instead, they respond carefully and strategically.

3. Aikido emphasizes quick, decisive movements that are designed to use the attacker’s force against him

This is done through evasive movements, body shifting, and leverage.

How this works with a difficult customer

Myra discusses how to apply Aikido principle #3 to a difficult customer situation in this except from her Verbal Aikido online course

Taking this to a verbal level, your employee would take a customer’s intensity and sense of urgency and use that to their advantage with a reply like: No question, we’ve messed up. Getting to the bottom of this is just as important to me as it is to you.” Instead of letting the customer’s intimidation tactics negatively impact them, your employee turns the energy back at the customer by pacing his actions.

4. Aikidoists blend with their opponent’s energy

In Aikido, this looks as if you move toward your opponent and then change places with them.

Here’s how this works with a difficult customer

In a verbal attack, blending with your customer is finding common ground with the customer. Your representative can blend with an angry customer by listening with a sincere intent to understand their frustration and needs and then responding with empathy. I caution employees against listening to the customer with the intent to reply, cut off or tell them what they can’t do. The point is to listen with the real intent to understand their customer’s perspective.

The knowledge employees gain from listening to their customer becomes their force and positions your employee to redirect the energy in a productive direction. Once they’ve blended with the customer, that is, once they truly understand the customer’s situation, the attack can be neutralized and redirected.

5. Aikido students learn to turn with their opponent’s force and let that force go past them

Here’s how this works with a difficult customer

When employees respond to angry customers in this way, they’re able to keep their cool when customers get hot. They don’t get caught up in anger or offense. Instead, they allow the customer to express his feelings and they don’t take comments personally and they don’t allow their feelings (anger, rejection, offense) to control their responses.

6. An Aikido Master never seeks to kill his opposition

Here’s how this works with a difficult customer

When we transfer this principle to unreasonable customers, we realize that our goal is to never hang up on a customer, blow a customer off, or “fire” a difficult customer. Our goal is to find more diplomatic ways to communicate and reach win win resolutions.

Talk to Myra about delivering Verbal Aikido training to your company.

 

Key Take-Aways In Myra’s Verbal Aikido Training

  • Employees learn to address anger head-on – so they immediately establish themselves as assertive and in control.
  • The principle of acknowledgment – because when an angry customer feels truly acknowledged, they are less talkative and a bit easier to deal with.
  • Assertiveness – so that employees learn to say what they mean, mean what they say and not be mean when they say it.
  • The “3 closed-ended questions” technique – so your employees can instantly control any conversation with a rambler, storyteller or angry customer who keeps interrupting them.
  • A remarkable response to the customer who demands to speak to a supervisor – so your employees can politely de-escalate situations with impatient customers.
  • The Aikido principle of Force Never Meets Force – so your employees are never guilty of being defensive or going on the counter attack with customers.
  • Your employees learn how to brilliantly pace an angry customer’s intensity or sense of urgency – so that they turn negative energy into positive forward-moving conversation.
  • How to blend with a difficult customer’s energy – so employees can make customers feel heard and understood, because when customers feel understood, they begin to calm down.

 

How long will it take for you to talk to us about having Myra deliver this Verbal Aikido workshop for your customer service representatives?