Saturday, November 27th, 2021

The Complaint Department

By Cathy Kuzel on Mar 22 2010 • Filed under The Connected Woman

Sooner or later it happens to every sales representative – some customer somewhere, is going to make an unreasonable request or raise an unfair objection. This always puts us in an uncomfortable spot. A self-righteous customer with an unjustified complaint is not easy to pacify, but it can be done and how the situation is handled may well determine whether or not a client is lost. 

First, keep in mind that when a customer makes an unreasonable demand, they are usually keenly aware of it. The customer may not really expect you to agree to it at all. They may simply hope to receive some sort of concession even if it isn’t everything they are demanding. 

Most clients who are ‘angry’ have had some time to work themselves into it. Angry clients have leaned from past experiences that you have to scream and jump up and down to get any kind of service from other stores. Rather sad but true. It may be tempting to fight back, especially if the customer is unreasonable or abusive, but an angry response will only make the situation worse.

Use the following techniques to deal with this “thorny” issue while keeping the business AND the client. 

  1. Let the client keep their dignity: State your position politely and reasonably. This is not the time to tell them they should have read the fine print.
  1. Do not argue: Winning an argument with an upset client is tantamount to a slap in the face. This is not about “I’m right, you’re wrong” this is all about “How can we satisfy all parties involved.”
  1. Respond: Don’t react. Doctors would rather have you ‘respond’ to treatment rather than ‘react.’ Look it up in the dictionary. Big difference!
  1. Appeal to the client’s sense of fairness: Explain that you are eager to do what is fair and right. Let the client know that you regard them as a person of integrity. This may give them pause for thought and may encourage them to do what is right.
  1. Use the FEEL FELT, FOUND method:

I know how you FEEL
I FELT the same way too…
I have FOUND that… 

  1. Be firm: This does not mean being dogmatic or scolding nor does it mean unbending or rigid. It means standing on facts to find common ground to resolve the issue.
  1. Anger is a feeling that belongs to the other person: It is not ours to adopt. Remain calm, breathe deep and look the client in the eye.
  1. It’s OK to say “no”: When the circumstances justify it, you have no choice. Of this you can be sure – once you agree to an outrageous proposition, you will never be free of it!

Is it easy? No. But with thought and understanding, you can face almost any angry person, client or otherwise. Respond in a positive manner and soon you will be able to discuss things in a calm and civilized manner. 

Remember, she who stands her ground with dignity and courtesy is most often the one who keeps writing the sales orders!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you . Great information. It really is about dignity for the guest and ourselves. The guestion being “What can we do to better the situation”, ask the guestion…..

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