|WHEN CUSTOMERS CRITICIZE YOU
Listen carefully for any information that can help you.
Even in the most vitriolic attacks, there may be some grains of truth
or insight worth mining. However personal the attack may be some
grains of truth or insight worth mining. However personal the
attack may be, try not to take it personally.
Understand that nearly all criticism is subjective.
Someone who says you did a lousy job is just voicing their
opinion. You might in fact have done some things very well, but
the customer can only see things from his or her point of view.
Let the customer finish.
The temptation is to try to cut people off, but that only fans the
flames. Let the fire burn out, then start to solve the problem.
Don't get into a point-counterpoint discussion -- even if the
customer is wrong.
If you need to rebut some of what's said, pick the most important or
compelling issue and stay with that.
Don't offer your own list of criticisms of the customer.
This isn't the issue, and it will only start an argument.
If you're face-to-face with the person, don't shuffle your feet,
fidget, turn away, or act as though you can't wait for the customer to
stop (even if that's how you really feel).
Your body language should be accepting, not rejecting, of the
When the customer is finished, respond graciously. If
you can't say something pleasant, at least say something that is not
derogatory or belligerent. For example. Thank you for
expressing your concerns." After venting, irate customers
basically want to know that you or your company acknowledges their
claim, and that you will resolve the problem for them. Here's how
you can do that:
Take responsibility for resolution. "The ball is in my
court, and I'll handle it."
Express regret over the situation. Note I said regret,
not sorrow or apology. It isn't always necessary for you to be
sorry or apologetic. It is appropriate for your to regret whatever
happened. This isn't skirting the issue: it is just using
the most appropriate language for the situation. You feel sorry
when someone's grandmother passes away, but you feel regret that a
customer's product isn't working.
State clearly what you will do. "To resolve this
situation. I intend to......."
Thank the customer for raising the issue. This might be
hard to do, but if you want to be professionally assertive, you also
need to be professionally gracious. In other words, recognize that
when somebody comes to you with a situation that perhaps was not easy
for them to talk about, you should acknowledge them for bringing up the