Customer Experience News & Trends

2 of the most effective ways to calm upset customers

You can’t improvise when it comes to upset customers. You need a plan in place to cool the situation – and here are two. 

While every upset-customer situation is different, your approach to resolving it can be designed the same and executed with some variations when necessary.

Keep these two proven methods in your toolkit.

The MAMA method

The MAMA method comes from Michah Solomon, customer experience consultant and author of  The Heart of Hospitality.

  • Make time to listen. Stop what you’re doing when you realize a customer is upset or is on the verge of it. Lean in and listen closely without interrupting or being interrupted from distractions.
  • Acknowledge and Apologize. Acknowledge that your customer faced a situation that has left him or her displeased. Apologize for what has happened – whether you caused it or not because often customers just want to hear, “I’m sorry this has happened to you.”
  • Meet the Minds. Have a meeting of the minds by getting the customers’ expectations and what you can do to resolve the situation in alignment. Ask, “What would be an acceptable solution?” If you can’t do that exact thing, say, “This is what’s possible … How do you feel about that?” You should be able to find middle ground by offering more than one solution. Spell out the agreed-on solution and commit to what you’ll do.
  • Act. Take care of the issue and follow up with anyone in your organization who needs to know what’s happened. Then follow up with the customer to confirm the situation has been resolved and he or she is satisfied.

BYT, then AFA

Combine these two tactics from Joy Baldridge, author of The Joy in Business – Innovative Ideas to Find Positivity and Profit in Your Daily Work Life,to help upset customers and create calm in the situation.

  • BYT. You can help upset customers feel better sometimes if you BYT – Bite Your Tongue. Staying silent while customers let out their frustrations shows you’re listening closely and allows them to talk about their emotions. Baldridge suggests literally biting your tongue so you aren’t tempted to interrupt or jump into solution mode before customers have a full opportunity to say their piece.
  • Master AFA. Once you let them vent, and let up on your tongue, it’s time to Always be Flexible and Adaptable. Tell customers the possible solutions, then be flexible enough that you bend without breaking and adaptable enough to adjust to circumstances quickly.

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