Tag Archives: empathy

Following Up Turns the Tables


Turning the Tables

A friend of mine recently catered a home party for a regular client and received a gratuity that was not as generous as in the past. As part of his regular practice he  placed a follow up call to the client the next day. When asked about the service and food quality the client replied ” I didn’t want to say anything, but one of your employees was not very professional in the way he interacted with my guests. ” “He spent too much time in causal conversation and not enough time clearing dishes.”

My friend thanked the client for making him aware of the issue. He apologized and said he would pay closer attention to supervising his staff and speak to the employee about the incident to ensure it would not happen again.

A few days later in the mail my friend received a check from the client to compensate for the gratuity and a request to cater an upcoming party. The same client made recommendations to her friends regarding his catering service and he was awarded several future catering jobs.

Following up is an opportunity to turn around a bad experiences,  strengthen relationships and turn customers into evangelists.

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I Didn’t Want to Say Anything But…


Ever talk to a customer and at the end of your conversation they say those words “I didn’t want to say anything, but…”

The customer feels hesitant about relaying information and it’s your job to extrapolate it.  It’s so easy to brush it off and sweep it under the carpet, instead keep positive and look at this as an opportunity to turn a bad experience into a positive one. Information obtained from customers can be used to improve processes, service and relationships with customers.

It starts with customer engagement:

  • Listening – Carefully listen to what the customer is saying without interruptions.
  • Documenting – Take detailed notes so the customer does not have to the repeat information.
  • Expressing Empathy – Be empathetic to help prevent further frustration.
  • Apologizing – Say your sorry and be genuine. Focus on restoring the relationship. Let the customer know how the issue will be resolved and what will be done to ensure it does not happen again.
  • Following Up – Take ownership of the issue and keep in contact with the customer on the status and when it will be resolved.

The most important part of this phrase is what comes after the but. Instead of just letting it go by the wayside, take time to stop and listen for an opportunity to learn.

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Using empathy can help diffuse angry customers

Showing empathy can often help diffuse angry customers. When engaging in conversations with a customer try using comments such as:

“I would be disappointed, too, if that happened to me.”

“Oh, no that’s not suppose to happen”

“I can understand why this is a concern”

Relating to a customer emotionally can often turn a difficult situation into one were the customer feels at ease and connected.

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