Help Your Service Team "Lean In" to Customer Criticism
Dealing with criticism is a big part of the job in customer service, and reps must often respond to criticism from customers, managers and coworkers
This month’s issue of Customer Communicator offers advice from Richard S. Gallagher, author of What to Say to a Porcupine, on how to deal with criticism. The trick, Gallagher says, is to "lean in" to criticism by acknowledging it and even agreeing with it.
"It is a disarming technique aimed at finding out whatever you can most agree with about what the other person is saying — and then trying to acknowledge that, or agree with it with gusto," he says.
If you tell a customer that he or she is wrong, Gallagher says, "you are throwing a switch that is going to turn on the instinctive ‘friend vs. foe’ reflex. But if, instead, you ‘lean in’ and say to the customer, ‘I understand. If this happened to me, I would be furious too’ — then you have put yourself emotionally at eye-level with the customer, and you have absolved them of the burden of having to explain their position to you. In fact, you should try to frame their position as that of a totally reasonable person — even if you disagree with them, and even if you can’t give them what they want."
About the Customer Service Group
For more than 20 years, the Customer Service Group has helped customer service, call center and help desk managers increase productivity, improve service quality and boost customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. The Customer Service Group publishes Customer Service Newsletter and The Customer Communicator.