Ever had to deal with an angry customer?

In a workshop I facilitated on the subject of customer retention, a bank manager (let’s call her Betty), shared a story about a customer (let’s call her Ms. Maddy), who came in questioning whether she should continue to deposit money with the bank. Using language unfit for this page, Ms. Maddy expressed how upset she was and said, “It better not happen again!!!!” Then she said she didn’t want to talk about it any more. END OF STORY. Yet she stood there continuing to talk about it.

Betty listened calmly and patiently and when she was certain that Ms. Maddy was “done”, said she understood why Ms. Maddy was upset, that she was very sorry about what had happened and then assured her that the situation would be handled.

Ms. Maddy left the bank smiling.

Betty ended her telling of the story with a lesson learned:

“Though tempted to defend myself and the bank, letting the customer vent, letting the customer know I understood, was the best thing for me to do. Best for the bank. Best for the customer.”

Actually – Ms. Maddy could have just as easily vented to someone else – family, friends, colleagues – even another bank – one that could have become her new bank. And that new bank would have been delighted to have learned about and learned from the mistakes that had driven Ms. Maddy away from Betty’s bank.

As you can imagine, listening to Ms. Maddy vent was not easy for Betty (I think she counted to ten about twenty times). But she she knew Ms. Maddy was a good customer and so she concentrated on listening for somethng she could learn – something the bank could do differently. Something to help them do business better.

What a great lesson Betty shared with us. And a great reminder that however painful it may be – whoever bears it has the greater chance of benefiting from it.

Author's Bio: 

Jan has thirty years of sales and management experience and loves sharing it (plus her love for solving problems and for making work fun) with others so that they can get through tough situations, make big goals and celebrate these achievements.

She is now President of Business Class Inc which provides resources to managers and business owners such as one-on-one coaching, master mind groups and management team retreats. Plus FREE resources such as a Blog, E-Zine and Quote Libary, which includes over 100 motivational quotes ready to download, print, post and share to help teach, learn, remind and reinforce important keys for business success.