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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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If you did that with a problem customer, it would be an attention-getter, but you could end up either on YouTube or in a mental health facility as a result. And I’d love to see that Yelp review!

 

“If we value the customer because they are a long-term client, jump into Plan B immediately,” Friedman said. “Take responsibility, because in these untested times, people have issues that have nothing to do with you or your car.

 

"We have no idea what each person is going through and probably never will. This may be the best way of handling the situation. Look at it this way---not everyone is nice, polite and caring, but you can be, and that’s what’s important.”

 

Listening is an art form and words are tools, so tap into your Jedi Knight and be a good listener. Never attempt to argue with the customer and at all costs, do not interrupt them. If you verbally "nod" during the interaction, the customer will feel better understood, according to Freidman.

Most unhappy customers just want someone to listen, and in many cases their stance is based on false information or emotions, Friedman said.

 

“My father used to say if you talk you teach, but when you listen you learn. Learn as much as you can about your irate customer, while always looking for viable solutions and a fair compromise.”

Try to think like the customer and show empathy.

 

I came out of a shop one time and my car was hooked up to a tow truck. I messed up and parked in a red zone and begged the meter maid to please let me go (and save $400.)

 

It didn’t work until I said, “Why can’t you be a human being for just a second?” Her attitude was defused instantly, and without saying another word, she signaled to the tow truck driver and I was off the hook literally.

 

She frowned at me and said, “Pay it forward.” And I did.

 

I offered her a chance to show empathy and I’ll never forget it.


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