Posted on 02 May 2006 by John
Yesterday the immigrants in the US staged a protest against the new immigration laws by skipping a day’s work and going on streets to show how much they matter to the US economy. They called it – a day without immigrants!
I would not get into if it is right or wrong — I tend to stay away from political and religious matters — but one thing which struck cord with me was a comment that an excellent friend of mine made.
He said this protest is just so unnecessary and the matter could be easily resolved if both sides sit and listen to each other. My response to him was that isn’t it true for any argument?
That said, Seth posted an excellent entry on his blog — Please go away (angry).
It started as a rant about how rigidly some organizations follow their policies, no matter how upset the customer gets!
Yo! You wouldn’t want to believe how many times I have been through this. And know what? Most of the times even the person complaining knows that it is life and nothing can be done about his issue! However, he just wants to vent. He just want to have his side of story heard.
That’s right – you can avoid those hard-feelings and bad word of mouth by just lending an ear to the angry customer.
What does Seth have to say about it?
When a customer is really upset about a policy or a procedure or something we did, and the only alternative appears to be telling them to go away angry, pull out this form. Explain (only if it’s true) that you are disappointed that they’re upset. Explain (if it’s true) that you agree that the policy is stupid and doesn’t make sense in their case.
Then, working as a team, write up the situation. Work WITH them, egging them on. Get all the details on this form, let them explain to you and to themselves what the problem is. Get their contact info.
When you’re done, thank them for helping you (it’s true, they are helping you!), then fax the form to the CEOs direct fax number.
No, the person won’t get satisfied that minute. But they won’t leave angry, either.
BTW even Dale Carnegie has a complete lesson about this exact issue — listening to your customer — in his excellent book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
So, do you listen to your angry customers?