Joe Customer is complaining, and as I listen to Joe I realize that his story has some of the facts wrong. It was Tuesday, not Thursday. Mary was helping him, not Marie. This situation hasn’t happened to him “100 times.”
He’s wrong, and I know he’s wrong, and – what’s more – I’m right! I’m going to prove those facts are wrong. I’m going to win this argument, which – sorry for Joe – means that he’s going to lose.
This reaction is coming from my gut. And while that reaction may be right, my response needs to be different. My response shouldn’t be a matter of deciding who’s going to win an argument because who really cares who wins the argument? What does it matter who wins an argument? And why would I want to be a part of an argument in the first place?
Those are really the key questions to ask ourselves.
We’ve dealt with enough upset customers and heard enough stories soaked in misstatements. When dealing with a service recovery situation and/or an upset customer, we need to keep the right personal goal in mind.
The personal goal shouldn’t be to engage in and win an argument with a customer. Our personal goal should focus on listening, learning, and moving on.
By listening, we handle emotions better, taking the focus off of ourselves (and thereby avoiding defensiveness) and move it to the other person. By learning, we apply the lessons of the situation, the person, the root cause to the future. By moving on, we don’t let the difficulties of today negatively impact our attitudes or outlook for tomorrow.
Avoid the desire to argue and to win the debate.
Instead, engage to listen, learn, and move on.
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