It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer!
We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things.
We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are to blame, but by blaming them, we are often whipping the emotions up. And when we’re dealing with service recovery, we want to bring the emotions down. We can waste a lot of time and energy dealing with emotions and never getting to a solution, so we want to find ways to deal with issues without focusing on blame.
Avoiding the You
Avoiding discussions of blame requires that we avoid discussions of You. At a high level, we basically try to avoid the Who, and focus on the What and the When. We literally talk about the issue, what happened, when did it happen, how did things occur. We spend enough time on the issue only to understand the direction to go with the solution.
And with the solution, again, we focus on the What and the When, the How, and – sometimes – the Who.
So how do we avoid talking about who caused the issue? Sometimes it’s very easy – just talk about what steps were taken without saying who took those steps. We literally avoid the word You, and we actually use a little passive voice (When this happened… or This occurred after…). Those are softer ways to describe an occurrence than You did this… You caused this… This problem was created by you.
Getting to the Solution
Again, we want to understand the issue well enough to get to the solution, but we don’t want to be mired in the emotion. Sometimes it pays not to focus on who is right and who is wrong. Instead, we need to focus on getting to the right solution as quickly as possible.
The next time you find yourself in one of these service recovery situations and the customer’s clearly in the wrong, focus on the issue and solution, and try to avoid assigning blame.