Love you all, praying for you.
I just love God’s Word. It is wisdom, best practice for success. It tells you about people, and how to succeed with them. Have you ever faced an irate customer? Yelling and screaming at you, often for something you had nothing to do with. Someone dropped the ball at your company, or things just happened that were unanticipated, sometimes it’s even partly the customer's fault – but that doesn’t matter, they are livid, and letting you have it. What do most people do? What will you do? What does God want you to do? What is His plan for your success, even in difficult situations? First. God said be careful how you hear. That means how do you view this problem? How do you view this customer? Think of this picture. You are sitting across the table from an irate customer. There’s a rock in the middle of the table that is the problem, and they are screaming at you about this rock. You could scream back, or downplay their concern, but they are coming at you when the problem is the rock. They’re taking it out on you, but they are really upset about the rock. And they just want someone to know how upset they are, and then they just want someone to fix it. Rather than keep the rock in between you – what if you changed the picture? What if you moved around to the other side of the table, and sat next to them, so you can both look at the rock together, not keep the rock between you? That mental picture can help. Most people dealing with irate customers are more concerned with fixing their anger management issues, than they are with fixing their problem. Customers can sense that, and it just makes them more angry, it doesn’t solve anything. That means you’re just a problem creator, not a problem solver. Their rudeness is a totally separate issue… You don’t need new problems, you need to fix the first one. Some people say – “I don’t appreciate you using that kind of language, I don’t appreciate the way you’re treating me.” You’re missing the point. God said an undeserved curse does not come to rest. This is not about you, it’s about the problem, and how they feel about it. Hear them, then fix the problem. Don’t worry about you, this isn’t about you. “But I don’t like that kind of language,” who cares – sticks and stones. Solve problems, don’t create new ones. The other thing you need to see. Is this a problem? Or an opportunity? Most every problem is an opportunity in disguise. You’ll either see the problem, or the opportunity. The silver lining of an irate customer, is if you fix their problem, and make them feel good about it, you could get a customer for life! Some problems are unfixable, you or your team or your company screwed up, and you will lose this customer. (Some customers are worth losing, - that’s another topic altogether, but some customers you want to give to your competition, so they drain all their time, money and resources. Sometimes the best addition is subtraction.) But that’s not the case here, and not the case most of the time. What can you do to turn around this irate customer? And if they won’t turn around, will you still do what’s right? Four Steps of the Turnaround. Step 1: Listen - hear them out, let them vent. It won’t be pretty, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t try to fix their character flaws – listen so you can fix their problem. There are two parts, the problem itself, and the way they feel about it. First fix their feelings, then fix the problem. If they don’t feel like you heard them or understand what they are saying, or how upset they are, it could be an easy fix, but they won’t feel understood, valued… And that is what you must do first, if you’re going to turn them around. That means you have to hear them out. Let them get it off their chest. Step 2: Empathize. Not sympathize, just saying sorry alone, doesn’t cut it. I am so sorry that happened to you, that has to be so frustrating, I would be furious, that just isn’t right! (Don’t throw your company or co-workers under the bus, it doesn’t matter right now why this happened, or whose fault it is… That doesn’t help you, your company or your customer). What matters is - you fix it. Just Hear them fully, then be in it with them (like moving to the other side of the table). And then, here’s the moment of truth. Turn the corner! You can’t let them stay in vent stage too long… they’ll just get themselves deeper. Fully Hear them, Empathize, and then turn the corner. How? That’s Step 3: Take ownership. “Here’s what I’m going to do for you!” What you can do, sometimes is limited, not what they fully want. No, you can’t replace their entire car, just because a French fry fell on the seat… But let them know that you understand the problem, their feelings, that you feel the same way!, and now you are going to do something about it. You now own this – and will follow through ‘til it gets done, ‘til it’s made right. Some things you can’t do, you can’t undo spilled milk, but you can clean it up, get them a new glass, and value them as people and as customers. And the most important, Step 4: Follow through. Follow up, and finish. Say what you’ll do, and Do what you said. Under-promise, Over-deliver. Do what is needed to fix their problem, and make things right as much as possible. God said as much as it depends on you, live at peace with all men, make peace out of difficult situations. God will help you, but you need to take action. Set it on your calendar within 24 hours – a follow-up call with them so they know that what you said you were going to do, you did it. And if the ultimate solution takes a couple of weeks. Schedule regular communication with them to let them know – you are still on it, you’re not letting this go, and you will not rest until it’s fixed. That’s someone they want to do business with, someone they can trust. (You need PiVAT before dinner for this – PiVAT Weekly, and PiVAT Monthly - Get a PiVAT Journal). This isn’t your only customer. Your day is full, you’ve got fifty things going on. And if you are not diligent to seek God’s timing for the follow-up steps, (Ask Him, He’ll tell you - and write them down), you will miss the opportunity for excellence, for a turnaround. You will just exacerbate the problem, not fix it. Under-Promise Over-Deliver. This is excellence in action. You don’t stop until you fix it, everything you said. Some irate customers you will lose. But the ones you can turn around, can be customers for life. See every problem as an opportunity. And the bigger the problem you solve, the more value you create, the more compensation you make. It’s God’s seedtime and harvest principle. Praying that you will see irate customers as an opportunity not a problem, to show God’s love for them. Praying that you won’t take offense, but that you’ll take action. And deliver in the Spirit of Excellence, which is the Spirit of Christ. The last tip in facing irate customers, or any person that is less than cordial, classy, or civil. If you can see them like God sees them, with compassion, you can love them like God loves them. He loved you - when you were an idiot. You don’t treat people the way they treat you, or the way their actions deserve. See them, and love them according to their value to God, not their value to you. You know something they don’t - how much God loves them. He loves you. You can love them too, no matter what they are acting like right now. That’s the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit working in you! It’s not natural, it’s supernatural. Praying that you will run to the opportunity of irate customers, so they become customers for life, but far more importantly, so they know the love of Christ. It’s the love of God flowing through you. It’s being excellent, it’s what God called you to. Because that’s what He is, and He lives in you!
Love you all,
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Kelly Kamentz - Jesus follower, husband, father, and friend, helping others surrender time, thoughts, money, and testimony, to fulfill their purpose!