You know the saying, ‘I learned everything I ever needed to know in kindergarten?’ One of the kindergarten lessons on fire safety can be very effective in working through customer complaints and objections.

Yesterday a speaker shared a joke about two men who were chatting about their lives over drinks.

The first man said, “Whenever my wife and I have a disagreement, she gets all historical on me.”

Man 2 said, “Don’t you mean she gets hysterical on you?’

“No,” said Man 1, “She gets historical.  She brings up everything that I have ever done wrong since we first met.”

I know – a cheesy joke.  Yet, how true is this when you have a customer who is unhappy?  Do they come to you with hysterics?  Or do they get all historical and bring up EVERYTHING they have ever been unhappy or dissatisfied about?

What to do in either case?  Follow one of our ‘kindergarten lessons.’  Stop, drop and roll!

These 3 steps are used as the technique for when you are ‘on fire’ physically?  Ever felt  ‘under fire’ with a customer complaint or objection?  Well, we can use the same technique in those situations!  stop-drop-roll

Stop.  Stop talking.  Pause and listen.

Drop.  Your ego and defenses.  You won’t get very far if you also become hysterical or historical.

Roll.  Roll forward in a discussion that is open and focused on resolution.  How?

  1. First, assure them of your intent to help resolve the objection, question or complaint.
  2. Then ask them an open question to draw out more information.  At first you might get more hysterics or history.  That is okay.
  3. Listen, paraphrase and ask another question if necessary.
  4. Restate that you want to help them and ask if they will explore possibilities with you.  (You’ve just changed the situation into a collaborative problem-solving opportunity.)
  5. Work with them to share ideas, examples, ask for feedback and their ideas.
  6. Agree on a course of action.

I think for myself the first part of stopping is the toughest. I want to jump right to telling them why they are wrong…and I make it worse.  Instead when I take that breath and stop.  I actually move forward more easily.  And very importantly, I help my customer stop the hysterics or the history lesson to resolve the issue.

Something to think about isn’t it?  What do you think?