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Dissatisfied or Rude Customers Can Be Satisfied Customers

On a recent airline flight I was an upset customer. I was arriving on a late inbound flight and connecting with the last flight out on the same airline, but the connecting flight left without me! At first, I was furious when told to wait in a line of 300 people to resolve my problem. But I used my time to "people watch", and I made some valuable observations.

I saw that the customers who approached one ticket agent with a smile, sense of humor or other positive behaviors were walking away in a positive state. The agent looked and sounded kinder and more empathetic when helping those folks. The customers who approached another agent with a visibly sour attitude seemed to evoke a negative response from the agent, and they walked away looking angry.

Both sets of people had similar intentions - to get their problem resolved. But the people who approached the agent angrily got a much less satisfying response. Whatever their intention, the message they sent evoked a negative response. I decided to emulate the other group of people, the ones who approached the agent with a smile and a positive attitude. The result? I walked away with a newly scheduled flight and some upgrades as the airline's way of making amends.

This illustrates a principle of neurolinguistics -- The real meaning of a message is the response it triggers. Knowing this, you can control the experience your customers have when they come to you for service. They may choose to behave rudely, but don't let it trigger a negative response in you, the way it did with the ticket agent I observed. Remember that dissatisfied customers all have the same goal in communicating with you - to get their problem resolved. The ones who are trying to achieve that goal by using rude behavior are going about it the wrong way, maybe because they mistakenly think it's the best way to get results. Treat them in a pleasant, positive manner, and in most cases you'll succeed in triggering a positive response from them.

This is worth repeating: no matter how customers approach you about their need or problem they all want the same thing: to achieve customer satisfaction. Don't take their negative behavior personally, because they're not being rude for rudeness' sake. As a person who works with customers, your behavior should be guided by a belief that you can leave the customer in a better state than when they approached you. You can do that by using a positive, upbeat manner and language to evoke a positive response in your customers.

Copyright? Patricia Weber, http://www.prostrategies.com.

Pat Weber is a coach, certified telelcass leader, and corporate trainer. With her incisive, effective communication skills, her services can put problem solving in your own hands, by helping you increase your choices and build your self-confidence. With personal coaching, a teleclass, an online email course or on- site workshop, get what you want, more easily and more often. Visit her website at http://www.prostrategies.com. Contact her for a free coaching session.

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