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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 18:19

How to Deal with Disgruntled Customers During Trying Times

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You can either ignore a rude customer or gently try to find a solution, according to Nancy Friedman, “The Telephone Doctor.” You can either ignore a rude customer or gently try to find a solution, according to Nancy Friedman, “The Telephone Doctor.”

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I was in a body shop, back in the old days when you didn’t have to stay 6 to 10 feet away from people or wear masks or keep using the word “surreal.”

It was a Monday morning, so everyone was nursing their coffee until an obviously annoyed man crashed into our world. The minute he entered, he was ready for a fight---first the receptionist, then an estimator, followed by the manager, culminating in a heated conversation with the shop’s owner.

He was so loud I imagine they could hear him down the street. His car was supposed to be ready, but it wasn’t, and even though they extended his car rental, he still wanted a pound of flesh.

 

I bit my tongue and was happy that he wasn’t my problem. He finally left the shop and the rest of us sighed and took a deep breath.

You will always get unhappy customers, especially during these unprecedented times. When people are worrying about paying their bills and keeping their families safe, a car accident is just another pebble in their shoes. And some will deal with it better than others.

 

If you had a retail job in high school, which most of us did, one of the first things you learned is the customer is always right.

 

In some cases, it’s true. But, every once in a while, you may encounter a customer who is both irate and wrong. Some people think they can act like bullies because they’re on that side of the counter---I call them “vendor bashers.”

 

Collision repair is one of the only industries where the customer is either embarrassed, because tbey caused the accident, or upset, because they are the victim of the accident. This means the stress and anxiety is already built-in, so deflating a potentially situation is even tougher than in many businesses.

 

Nancy Friedman, "The Telephone Doctor," a highly-respected and popular customer service keynote speaker, has been hired by more than 30,000 organizations to improve their Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSI) and provide a better customer experience overall.

 

Friedman says there are two options when a snarky customer comes on your radar. You can either ignore them or inquire gently to find a solution.

 

In most cases, if the customer sees you’re not affected by their boorish behavior, they will calm down, she said. It’s like a bear. Don’t run because it will chase you, so lie down in a fetal position and stay still.


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