Top 7 Ways To Deal With Explosive Customers
By Martien Eerhart
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Have you ever been in a situation where the customer was so unrealistic or so upset that no rational and logical response would satisfy that person? Here are seven suggestions to de-escalate such a confrontation.
- Cooperation -- Here you are looking to find one area that you might have in common. For example, ask "I have an idea. Would you like to hear about it?" The main idea is to get them to agree with you on something neutral.
- What would you like me to do about it? -- Often we assume that we know what the other person wants. We think we have the power of reading the other person's mind. Why not ask them what they want. Even when you are fairly sure, it forces the other person to verbalize it, allowing you to come up with a more acceptable solution.
- The Columbo method -- Remember the detective from television who could solve any crime because he played being dumb? People lower their defenses if you take the position of someone who does not take the world for granted. You could say, "I'm confused. Can you explain why you think/feel that way?" or "What makes you think so?"
- Judo method. Here you reverse the pressure -- You acknowledge their position, and then turn it around and use it. For example, you would say, "I'm glad you brought that up. It is an issue that someone else also mentioned. So, let me ask you this, would you mind if I do..."
- Why? -- Often people have all the answers ready when you ask them a question. If you ask them why, they still have their answers ready. But if you ask why to each of their replies, they will run out of reasons and answers, allowing you to work towards a solution.
- Manage expectations -- By stating what you can and cannot do, you can start managing the customer's expectations. Don't just tell me what can't be done. Tell the customer, "I cannot do such-and-such. But I can do such end result." The mistake most people make is telling what we cannot do. It would be similar to asking someone what time it is, and they would tell me, "it is not 11 o'clock, and it is not noon either." Tell me what I can expect from you!
- The paper clip method -- Learn to agree on the small steps. There was this customer service rep who could have the most unreasonable customer in front of him. At one point he would ask for the person to hand him an item like a pen or paper clip. When the person would hand it to him, he would make a point to thank the man for the cooperation. This would happen a few times. Usually after the third time the man would cooperate, the two were able to work towards a solution or compromise.
This article was written by Martien Eerhart, a sales and management
consultant for Global Gateway LLC. He can be reached at (508) 432-2968 or visit [http://welcome.to/increaseyoursales]
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Article Submitted On: June 08, 2000