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Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch Chief Executive Officer

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How To Keep Your Calm to Resolve a Messy Situation


Imagine you have a customer on the phone or right in front of you and they are not happy. This customer is looking for someone to help them. You feel that you are on the edge of a potential scene if you do not handle this correctly but you are not sure what steps to follow to bring a calm positive resolution to the situation.

Following these simple steps will not only give them great customer service but also give both parties a solution that is acceptable.

  • You can’t out yell a yeller.

Beware of the situation escalating into a war of egos. They want you to understand their point but you also want them to understand yours. Neither of you will give an inch so the volume goes up and up and now it becomes a personal matter. Woah!!! Slow down.

Take your cue from martial arts. If someone comes at you with strength, move aside and let them pass. In this case, let them raise their voice and you lower yours. Become still and focus on them. This will have the effect of raising their awareness that they are the only one yelling. Once they realize they are the only one screaming, they will immediately drop their volume to match yours and don’t be surprised if they apologize and now you have control of the situation.

  • Acknowledge their problem.

People want to be heard.  First tell them that you are sorry they encountered this problem and how you can see how this would be frustrating. By telling them you heard what they said and repeating back their issue, it gives the customer a sense of comfort that you understand and that puts you in control of the situation.

You have gained a first level of their trust in being someone who can solve their problem. 

  • Tell them what you can do not what you can’t do.

In some instances when I hear people use the word can’t, I think they really mean they won’t. I wonder if the company’s processes have hindered employees from being able to solve problems or am I dealing with someone’s laziness and unwillingness to help.

Telling people what you can do keeps the situation in a positive light. Even if it means you have to contact a manager, tell them why you have to contact them and what will happen.

“I have to reach out to my manager so they can put in your credit. Can I put you on hold for a minute? I will be right back.”

Focusing on what you can’t do increases the frustration of the customer because now they are focused on their time being wasted by someone who cannot solve their problem.  Keep it moving forward by focusing on what you can do.

  • Outline the solution.

When people know what is happening they are more relaxed. Uncertainty fuels emotions. Once you have a solution for the problem, take the time to outline what will happen, especially if the customer is required to do something.

Too many times a business will just say, “ok, it’s taken care of.” But this still leaves a sense of uncertainty in the customer’s mind. Make sure they walk away happy because they have a resolution that they understand.

  • Apologize that this happened and offer your contact information.

As you close the conversation, take a moment to apologize for the company that the customer had to take time out of their day to deal with this. Most of the time businesses apologize for the product or service, but in reality, the customer is more upset because this is taking time from doing things they would prefer to do.

Lastly, take ownership of the solution and give them your contact information.  You will stand out from other businesses who would just send them back to a support line with someone who does not know their case.

Solving a customer’s issue can do more for your future business than just having happy customers. Let people share with others that you stand behind your product and are willing to do whatever it takes to fix a problem.

Glenn Pasch is the current COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker and Trainer. He will be presenting at the upcoming 2012 Driving Sales Executive Summit. 

Jim Bell
Great points Glenn and something that all managers should read along with the employees. You never know when you will have that upset customer in front of you.
Paola Saavedra
Great post, keeping in mind that our most vital asset is the customer; we would not exist in business without them. When issues with customers are calmly solved we not only satisfy them but we also gain their trust, which means that they help us grow by continuing to do business with us and also recommending our company to others.

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