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Negative Self-Talk Eliminator


Talking To Angry People

Part 7 of 12 from Communication Dance

(continued from last week…)

Mismatch Trouble

Have you ever called customer service over the complaint department in a company? While doing consulting for a corporation I listened in on a few of the operators taking complaints. Many conversations went poorly. The customers frequently felt as distressed when they finished the call as they did when they started.

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Here’s an example of a dialogue –

Operator: “Hello, this is the XYZ Company, my name is Sue, how may I help you?” (Very pleasant, calm tone of voice.)

Caller: “I used your product and it didn’t work! Not only did it not work, it ruined my shirt! I want my money back and I want my shirt replaced now!” (Angry, upset, talking fast, blaming.)

Operator: (Not pacing) “Well, we will be happy to refund your money. But I’m not sure what we can do about your shirt. (Calm and soft spoken.)

Caller: “Thanks for the refund, but my shirt cost 20 times what your dang product did! I want you to pay for it!” (Demanding)

Operator: “I’d like to send you a form to fill out and maybe the cost of the shirt might be recovered.” (Calm, soothing)

Caller: “I don’t want maybes! I want the money, and I wanted now! Let me talk to your supervisor!”

Operator: “Sure, hold on. I’ll get him for you.”

The supervisor then came on the call and had the same basic conversation.

Staying calm, staying in control when you’re talking to somebody who’s angry is really a good strategy. But if they think you’re blowing them off, if they think you are not taking seriously something they are upset about, it will just make them more and more upset, which is what I heard happen with a number of different callers. You have to change your intensity, your voice tones to pace them.

We need to be certain we are communicating appropriately. If you reflect on people who are highly successful in any field, they’ve learned how to communicate appropriately within that field with their associates, with their customers, with their bosses, to attain their goals.

Getting your way once if it ruins your relationship is not good thinking. Most have learned that long-term relationships are crucial to success.

(to be continued…)

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