Friday, October 15, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: Does This Make My “But” Look Big?

When a customer gets upset, they feel off-balance. Some may even appear vengeful, as if they’re looking for reasons to be unhappy with you and your organization.

Not so.

What the customer is looking for are affirmations that (1) their complaint is being taken seriously; and (2) you are prepared to help them to their complete satisfaction.

Two little words in the English language have powerful charges, and they’re the words “but” and “however.” Why?

Our ears and minds are conditioned to pay special attention to the message following those two words.

For example, what would be your take-away if I said, “Gosh, you always look so well-groomed, but today I find you’re somewhat overdressed for this occasion.”

Or, “I’ll be happy to resolve this problem for you; however, I’ll have to run this by my boss.”

In the case of the latter, the customer still isn’t hearing a helpful message, because tacitly you’re communicating, “I’m not really going to help you because it depends on what my boss says.”

Flip it around—same words, different emphasis:

“I’ll have to run this by my boss; however, I’ll be happy to resolve this problem for you.

“You’re somewhat overdressed for this occasion but gosh, you always look so well-groomed.”

Get it? Always put the positive side of the message behind those two small but powerful words.

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