Delivering bad news is hard work. The reason is that no one likes hearing the bad news by their employees. Even when they know it won’t be good, “s Cameraman” is notoriously impolite and I’m sure he gets his feelings hurt by calling out your mistakes, poor choices or oversights. Here is an inside tip about these types of people: he will sink the ship through his own lack of respect and even trying to take his frustrations out on you, your employees, or your customers. He will carry anger at every turn, and not be able to elevate himself over his own personal aggravation. You have to handle his anger and turn it into something that propels you and your employees forward. If you have ever encountered this when working with an angry customer, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
In most cases the person’s anger is based on inappropriate mothers of their feelings aimed directly at you or your business. These people know that they are more familiar with situations and situations on the job and feel they are entitled to demean you, pick on you or make an example of you. This will always backfire so be very careful of them.
What about those who really just want to express themselves? These customers are interested in their service or product, actually they are loyal to you, your company, and your business. Unfortunately for them, you as a professional, already have your feet to the fire so it’s hard for them to win over. They have never seen your world. And it is obvious from the way they react that they are uncomfortable in your world. They are tense, they act impatient, and there is always a contraction.
So what do you do? We know from experience that delivering bad news and does it well, but not all. And now I come to tips.
1. Don’t respond to the excuse first. The goal is to turn the conversation into an exchange of information where you and the customer have something to present to each other. The response the customer uses is just a way to get them off the hook. Throw them off by not responding. For example, if you are telling someone to replace parts on a car, if they start telling you how they have replaced the parts and don’t like the effect it has, don’t offer to replace them. If you have had to replace your car to correct your parts and issues, it is up to you to address those other parts and issues. It will send the message to the customer that it’s up to you to take care of all the little details that retain the customer as a customer. As the VP of customer service for the local damaging service company, I offer this same advice to everyone. It lets people know that it’s not OK to have problems and your company doesn’t have to be a friend or concern of theirs.
2. And to have the option, make the call at your earliest convenience and let the customer know that you will personally handle the situation. Don’t seem rushed and don’t let the customer express doubt about your ability to do a good job. You might be surprised, but allowing the customer to second guess it will make them angrier and harder to placate.
3. Forgiveness is a signal from your customer. They are telling you they forgive you and you may have in fact overreacted in the first place. Most customers feel that they are over touched and the situation is too sensitive so lets deal with it head on and fix it.
4. Take your time to get your thoughts together; think about what you need to say first so you present yourself with confidence. If you call, make sure you know who you are dealing with so you never deal with an angry customer in public or with anyone else. It is unprofessional and takes the focus off you. Most of all, don’t let them intimidate you. Regardless of what the customer is going through, you are now charged with the job of fixing their problem.