(1.) Use the 2F model. Let the customer vent.
(2.) Acknowledge the inconvenience
(3.) Follow up to see that the problem was solved. And always check with the customer to make sure the “fix” held up.
The receptionist said an angry customer had a complaint. Brenda was told to try and help solve this problem.
(At least she had been warned.)
On that day I was teaching a sales training and customer service class at Brenda’s company in Dallas.
The course was divided in half so customers could be taken care of during the class.
On Tuesday Brenda was in the “taking care of customers” half of the group.
We found out later how Brenda calmed the angry customer. It was good that this had been part of our roll play the day before.
What Brenda said was perfect.
She waited until the very upset customer stopped venting – the best thing to do because when someone is angry about bad service or no service, s/he needs to vent.
(Definition of “vent” from the Mirriam-Webster dictionary: “to express (an emotion) usually in a loud or angry manner.”
When the customer paused and took a breath, Brenda used eight compelling words to let the customer know she understood and was sympathetic.
The Eight Best and Most Helpful Words
“I am so glad you called us today.”
The customer relaxed and Brenda said she understood why the customer was upset.
The customer was relieved.
Brenda said she could help and asked her to please explain what happened.
After the conversation, Brenda took steps to resolve the problem and then phoned the customer to let her know what would happen next.
This is what we all want, isn’t it? Understanding and kindness plus a resolution of the situation.
What Not to Say
The temptation may be to be defensive when a customer complains. Or to interrupt and try to explain the reason for the problem.
But that only makes it worse.
After the problem has been resolved
Writing a letter of apology will go a long way towards repairing and/or creating customer loyalty.
Customer Service and Sales Solutions
You will find out more about how to respond to objections and unhappy clients – when you join my sales training e-Course.
And you will:
To Find out How this e-Course Fits with Your Situation
1.) Send a message to me with your name, company name + email address and I’ll respond to you within 24 hours.
2.) We will schedule a time for a phone conversation to talk about your situation, challenges and goals.
I look forward to talking with you!
Last week I was part of a bizarre conversation.
I phoned my cable TV provider to ask why the current billed amount is higher than the previous invoice.
Her surprising answer:
“Don’t you know by now that our rates go up every year?”
(In other words: “You are really a dummy.”)
She was either having a very bad day or had not been trained in good customer service skills.
Or maybe she had heard that question one too many times and was totally annoyed.
The 5 Worst Phrases to Say to Clients
Certain phrases and words are almost guaranteed to lose a customer or kill a sale.
(Dumb question. Who wouldn’t?)
Suggestion for the person who answered my question about my cable TV price increase:
When someone calls to inquire about a price or billing issue (and you don’t handle billing issues) the best way to answer the question is:
“The real expert in billing situations is [name of the person who handles
billing] and I can connect you now or ask her to call you back. Which would
Or . . . just follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.
Ever have a bad day?
CLICK HERE to read the three best ways to motivate yourself.
Maybe not that often. Or . . . if you are lucky, you do get unexpected + creative emails every once in a while.
This is something nice that happened last week:
After months and months of being a customer and receiving friendly and efficient service at a local Chipotle Mexican grill and then emailing a testimonial on their website, I received a surprising (in a good way) reply.
Not only was it a fast response, though short, it was one of the most creatively worded emails I’ve ever seen.
This is the thing:
You know how – when service is really good at a restaurant, plus you enjoy the food –
“I have to tell someone, like a manager, how much I (as a customer) really appreciate the good food and great service . . .
“. . . and how this one employee is always genuinely friendly and efficient.”
How often do these hard-working folks hear positive feedback from customers?
How often do the higher-ups in another state hear positive feedback about employees they might not know?
So, after procrastinating for much too long, I found out how – and who – to contact about the great service at this restaurant.
They have a good talk to us page on their website.
Positive Feedback Makes a Difference
I wanted to let them know about one employee who is nearly always there and is genuinely friendly and efficient.
She actually appears to LIKE her job.
And when things are busy and moving quickly in a fast-food restaurant this is kind of unusual.
Not only did I get a quick response to my email, but it was one of the most creatively worded emails I have ever seen.
Chipotle began a trend in restaurants that the industry has dubbed “fast casual,” which offers a more upscale dining environment and food quality along with higher prices.
(Actually, the Chipotle burrito bowl is not too much more expensive than a
Big Mac meal. I know this is true because every once in a while I have a “Big Mac Attack.”)
The creative email I received from Chipotle responding to my testimonial:
“It sounds like we have quite the rock star on our Virginia Beach Crew.
I’ll be certain to pass your wonderful words along to Audrey and her team so they, too, can jump up and down with joy.
I hope we see you for another tasty outing soon, Ann, and thanks for showering us with love.
“Your bud in the burrito biz,
Chipotle Mexican Grill”)
And, no, I am not an affiliate of – or being paid by – Chipotle Mexican Grill. Just a happy customer.
If you would like to request a testimonial from one of YOUR happy customers, you can get great pre-written copy-and-paste testimonial request letters in my e-book. Plus more than 50 different business and marketing letters that can also be used as emails. You can see a complete list of the contents on this page.