- Blog post
Six steps to defuse a customer blowup
When customers lose their temper, don’t think of them as angry. Think of them as frustrated.
What they want more than anything is for someone to fix their problem. Be that person and you’re the hero. Follow this six-step approach:
1. Establish rapport. Let the customer know up front that you’re on his or her side. Apologize for your company’s mistake, and thank the customer for bringing it to your attention.
2. Uncover the problem. Ask the customer to describe the problem precisely and completely, and take notes.
3. Verify your understanding of the problem. When your customer has finished explaining the problem, summarize what he or she has said. Make it clear that you have all the information you need to achieve a solution.
4. Offer a complete solution. Ask your customer what it would take to make things right. In most cases, customers want less than you think, but you won’t know what they expect until you ask.
5. Get it done. If you’re empowered to offer a solution on the spot, go for it. If you need to talk to your manager first, promise to get back to the customer by a certain date.
6. Cement the relationship. After you’ve addressed the problem:
- Tell your customer exactly what’s being done to prevent it from happening again.
- Thank the customer again for helping you uncover the problem.
- Reaffirm your commitment to serving the customer in the future (e.g., “Here’s my home phone number. If it happens again, please call me at home.”)
Adapted from “Outrageous, Unforgettable Service, Guilt-Free Selling,” AMACOM, New York.