Preventing Complaints

Given today’s announcement that NZ telcos have the greatest number of Commerce Commission Complaints I thought it apt timing to write a piece around one of the most in demand sessions we run called Diffusing Emotive Situations.

Where it all begins: When there is conflict it can arise for various reasons obviously, but what we often find to be at the bottom of it is an inability to read the customer’s personality style and give them initial information in the way they need it.
For example- if you are speaking with someone who is cold and quiet- they need you to provide them with more information than you think….every detail and all of the facts and research proving what you’re saying.
If you’re speaking with someone cold and loud- they need you to get to the point, listen to them, be direct and speak quickly and in facts and bullet points.
If you’re speaking with someone who is warm and quiet- they will need you to nurture them through the discussion and tell them what you think- checking in with them every step that they are happy as you go.
If you’re dealing with someone who is warm and loud- they need you to be upbeat, fun, interesting, flexible about going off track slightly and make it all about them!

There is some research mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’ about the number of surgeons sued in the States for malpractice. No complaints were taken further of surgeons with a good ‘bedside manner’- meaning the surgeons who built good relationships with their patients didn’t tend to get sued! Building relationships doesn’t start with a huge hug, smile and small talk- it all starts with mirroring the customer’s personality style so that they feel comfortable with you. Practice it first with your friends- mirror their style.

When you are dealing with an angry customer this doesn’t mean mirroring their anger ha ha- no!! It means to understand what went wrong. Now- to get the relationship back on track the first thing to do is to listen with meaning- , imagine how they are feeling and say something that lets them know it’s OK that they’re angry (not by admitting liability- but by saying something like “Given what you’ve told me I’d be angry too”, and that the fact they’re upset is unacceptable for us and we need to fix it. They may not be telling the truth so you may need to take time out to investigate.
Remember- buyers are NOT always right but they should always FEEL like they’re right. Good luck!

If you’d like to read the Stuff article about the complaints the Commerce Commission receive click here or cut and paste this link into your URL:

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