Saying “you’re right”: 5 Steps to Diffusing an Angry Customer
Does the idea of saying “you’re right” already make you very nervous? The biggest pain point in the life of a technician isn’t broken technology…it’s dealing with emotionally angry people. People care about their technology….like….a lot. This skill is also important to Apple. All Apple Certified Macintosh Technicians (ACMT) passed a portion of their certification test that directly deals with customer service and diffusing angry customers.
Technicians have an opportunity to be the biggest hero, but they can also be the target of some misdirected emotionally fueled verbal abuse–and in some extreme cases, physical abuse. Being a Mac Master not only mean you know how to fix Macs, but it means you’re able to deescalate angry customers. This creates a better experience for you, your coworkers, the angry customer, and any other persons that may be around to witness the angry customer.
Mastering these 5 skills, helps everyone and is the ultimate “win/win” situation. This post, we’re just focusing on the first of 5 skills…find ways to say, “You’re right.”
When to not say, “you’re right!”
You do not want to say “you’re right” when the customer is completely incorrect. If a customer is not using feature properly or has unrealistic expectations, then saying “you’re right” would be extremely damaging and make things worse. In other words, when attempting to find moments to say “You’re right”, it’s never helpful to lie.
You also want to avoid saying “you’re right” in situations where you or your company would be assuming blame/responsibility for the issue. Not only can this have legal implications down the road, but I’ve seen many technicians get their back up against a wall. By assuming blame/responsibility for an issue, then the customer feels like they can ask for unreasonable requests that should be met. Then when they are informed that their demand is not going to be met, they can become more angry because they feel you and the company are in debt to them.
When it’s appropriate.
Finding the appropriate moments to say “you’re right” is a powerful skill. Even if the customer is using their computer completely wrong or has unreasonable expectations as to what it should do–there is often at least 1 thing you can affirm and tell them they are right about. At the very least, you place yourself in their shoes, see how they can feel frustrated and affirm their frustration.
Here’s some examples of “you’re right” statements a technician might say:
You’re right! The computer isn’t starting up properly.
You’re right! I can see how this situation is frustrating…
You’re right! You’re under a lot of pressure with your time crunch…
Start by practice this with people you know and even with your happy customers. Looking for instances to affirm and say “you’re right” drastically changes the position of the interaction. This can be a pivotal point where the interaction often changes from “I am going to solve this” into “we are going to solve this.”
In all of these steps, the main goal is to change the interaction from “me and them” to “us.” If you can do that, the interaction will always be positive for everyone involved. It builds trust with your customers, makes them happy, confident in you as a technician, and you can get repairs done fasters.
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