TIP 24: Give a Standard Answer to Every Problem.

Don’t waste your time trying to reinvent the wheel.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned with Both Hands Over His Ears

“Most of the time, I know the answer to a customer’s complaint about two seconds after he starts whining about it. I nod, look bored, and check my e-mail while he’s rattling on about the terrible service he received. When he’s finally done ranting and raving, I just give him the standard answer. I then add, ‘You want to buy this or not?’ You have only about five responses you can use. And you can’t treat this customer like he deserves special treatment, even though he seems to think he does.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“Customers want to experience being heard — even more so when they are irate. After they have vented, repeat what they’ve said, instead of getting defensive and taking it personally.

There are two benefits to repeating what they’ve said:

  1. You clarify that what you heard is what they actually said (and what they said is what they meant).
  2. Most people calm down when they realize you’ve heard them and understand their dilemma.

You can help your customers in several ways to know they’ve been heard, and some phrases work better than others. For example, ‘I understand how you feel’ usually does not work. Customers will usually respond by saying, ‘Oh, no you don’t!’ Another phrase that does not work is ‘I know.’

Phrases that work better are:

  1. “I want to make sure I got it right. You just said…”
  2. “So the problem is…”
  3. “To summarize the problem and to make sure we’re on the same page…”

When customers complain, it’s imperative that you thank them for reporting it. They could have easily not said a word and simply gone elsewhere. A complaint is an opportunity to turn an unsatisfied person into a loyal customer. It can also improve your customer service so it doesn’t happen again. Lucky you!”

A Real World Example

Shaun Walker’s Story


“I went to Target and bought some of those nasal strips that are supposed to help you breathe better at night. Regardless of the brand, they are usually expensive. The brand I bought seemed promising. However, after using the product for several nights, I became greatly dissatisfied and felt like I had wasted my money. I decided to e-mail the company and air my grievances. I was not malicious, and even said I hoped this was a one-time failure of the product and not a reflection of the product’s true effectiveness. I voiced my concerns without being nasty.

Less than 12 hours later, I received an e-mail from the CEO of the company. Not only did she apologize, she gave a little background as to what might have caused the problem. She even asked me for my address so she could send me a Target gift card to get another one of their products that she believed would work better for me.

I was greatly impressed by her quick response. The company addressed my concerns and performed excellent customer service. Through their actions they turned my perception of the company from negative to highly positive. If only more companies would figure this out, they’d realize how easily they could make consumers more loyal to their brand.”

Memorable story? I think so.

Moral to the story: When you respond to a complaint with empathy, you will help customers breathe easier – now that’s a breath of fresh air.

Strategies to Turn This Around

Be an empathetic listener.

  1. Listen to the customer’s true complaint and see it from his or her perspective.
  2. Repeat what the customer said
  3. Tell the customer what you can do, not what you can’t.
  4. Pay attention to your nonverbal messages—facial expressions, body language.


Remember: Don’t take it personally. Not everything is about you.

“The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions.”

— Don Miguel Ruiz

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

0 Responses to “TIP 24: Give a Standard Answer to Every Problem.”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

About Barbara

Visit barbarakhozam.com to learn more about Barbara, her program topics, and how you can book Barbara as a guest speaker at your event.

Learn More

Download a Free Chapter from Barbara's Book


Connect with Barbara

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,537 other followers

Recent Tweets

%d bloggers like this: