Millions of viewers tune in each weekday to watch the Dr. Phil show. This psychologist and author appeared on nationally syndicated television with his own TV program in 2002, and he continues to bring his own brand of pop psychology into homes across the country each weekday. Known for his witty comments, and amusing ways of expressing his thoughts, Dr. Phil often asks a conversation stopping question of the couples who appear on his show who are experiencing marital discord. I love the question because it literally stops the squabbling couples right in their tracks. He asks, “Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?”
As business professionals, we often deal with customers who can be demanding, difficult, and sometimes downright angry. Think about how you can apply the wisdom of Dr. Phil as you train your employees on the finer skills of dealing with difficult customers.
When an angry customer is in your midst consider taking the following action:
1. Stop what you are doing and focus all your attention on the situation at hand. Like a bomb, it has the potential to explode so focus and be careful.
2. Take a deep breath. This has a calming and centering effect on the employee who is being attacked.
3. Tell the employee to remind themselves that altercations present opportunities to discover not who is right and who is wrong in each situation but for finding solutions to problems that can lead to the creation of positive experiences for customers. Borrowing from Dr. Phil, the employee should ask themselves, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to keep this customer?”
4. Instruct the employee to ask what the customer sees as a reasonable solution to the problem. All too often, we are ready to give away the store when sometimes, all an angry customer is looking for is an apology.
5. Finally, let the employee know that they should always apologize for inconveniencing the customer. This is not an admission of guilt or blame in the problem, but an acknowledgment that, for whatever reason, the customer experienced some level of inconvenience. Saying, “I am so sorry you were inconvenienced by this,” in a very sincere manner can go a long way to calming down that irate customer and getting everyone in a space where problem solving can occur – and isn’t that where you really want to be?
So don’t shy away from those difficult customers. Use conflict situations to create positive customer experiences for your clients.
Do you have a favorite way of handling difficult customers? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment!
And in keeping with the spirit of Dr. Phil…..”Let me know how that’s workin’ for ya.”