When delivering customer service with the “Wow Factor,” or that which really goes above & beyond exceeding the customer’s expectations many of us have learned it is important to follow the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule that says, “Treat others like you would like to be treated.”

Today, to exceed customer’s expectations, I believe it’s imperative to follow the “Platinum Rule” of customer service. Take it up a notch! The Platinum Rule simply means, “Treat others like they would like to be treated!”
But what about when we are delivering customer service to someone who is truly a difficult person? How can you keep your composure, and exceed their expectations?

First off, let’s examine why people are difficult. There are two primary reasons people are difficult. A – They could be a miserable person, and let’s face it, misery loves company! So if they’re miserable, they go out into the world, and they want nothing more than for you to be miserable too so they have company!

However, the definition of attitude is “the way you choose to respond.” Three key words there include: you, choose, respond. This means you have a choice in how you respond to a difficult person. Keep that in mind!

You can give your power away to them, and they will walk away and think (as the famous song says!), “Another one bites the dust!” They’ll think, “She was in a seemingly good mood before grouchy me showed up, and sure enough, I put her in a bad mood! Who has the POWER here?” Don’t give them the satisfaction and keep your positive spirit you brought to work regardless of who you’re dealing with!

Remember the formula E + R = O. E = the Event in your life, R = the Response to the Event, and O of course = the Outcome. This formula does not say E = O, so it’s not the Event in life that dictates the Outcome; it’s the Event plus your Response.

B - Another reason people are difficult is because they are just “different” than us. Isn’t it easy for us to say, “She’s the difficult one! I, I am per-fect!” Meanwhile what do you think your customer, internal to the organization as your co-worker, or external customer, is saying? “Boy, that Customer Service Representative, they were sure difficult! I, I am per-fect!”

So I encourage people to think of others as usually not truly difficult (unless they are miserable, and then they’re just being difficult in an effort to get you to join them!), but more often than not, they simply have a different behavioral style.

When you recognize a different behavioral style (for example, a customer who wants to go on and on with all the details, and you would really prefer to the point!), think about how you can flex your communication when dealing with them. Again, it is exhibiting that Platinum Rule and you are flexing to meet their needs. After all, it is called “Customer Service” and think, who is the customer here?

I travel internationally doing presentations and am saddened sometimes when I land at an Airport, and see the phone in Baggage Claim to call for my shuttle to the hotel I’m speaking at. I call to let them know I’ve arrived and am claiming my bag and find out where to meet them for the transport to the hotel so I can set-up the training room and get settled in for some rest! Many times they say (sigh), “Do you have your bags yet? Why don’t you wait until you get your bag and then call us? It’d be easier then.”

Easier for who? Is it easier for the customer or for the person supposedly providing the ‘service?’ Sure, it’s easier for the shuttle driver if they stay at the hotel, have the customer get their bag, call, and then wheel out to the curb, and wait on the driver to arrive.
It’s WOW Customer Service though for the hotel shuttle driver to take off when called, and perhaps wait a bit on the customer to claim their bag and get outside!! Who is the customer? So who should wait on whom?

I’m sure a similar situation exists at your business! Today “WOW Customer Service” is about going above & beyond how would you want to be treated, but applying what you know or can diagnose about this person’s behavioral style and treating them like THEY want to be treated! Also consider who is the customer and who is providing the service? When they are our customers we want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to do business with us vs. our competition.

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Author's Bio: 

Joy Huber – “Ms. En’Joy’able”
Award-Winning Speaker & Business Communications Expert

For more great information check-out my CD Programs
“An Interview with Joy Huber, Business Communications Expert” and “Talk to the Hand: A Woman’s Guide to Truly Thriving Amongst Difficult People”
at Joy Huber Online. Or email me at Joy@joyhuber.com