How You Respond is Everything

How You Respond is Everything

It doesn’t matter how bad a problem is —

Career Management Series

By Laura Lee Rose

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of TimePeace: Making peace with time – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff. I have a knack for taking big ideas and converting them into smart, sound, and actionable ideas.

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Today’s topic is still centered on fully satisfying the client.

I am currently monitoring a client’s social media comments and sentiments as part of a brand monitoring contract. As I am reviewing the chatter on social media regarding this product, I come across both positive and negative comments regarding the product or service. And in every case, it really doesn’t matter how bad the problem or issue is, you can always make it better (or worst) – by the way you respond.

Here are some tips for keeping your cool in some tough situations:

· Don’t take it personally

· Do apologize

· Don’t make excuses

· Do put yourself in their shoes

· Don’t ‘pass the buck’

· Do ask for help

· Stay calm

Let’s talk about some of these individually.

Don’t take it personally

The people complaining about your product or service aren’t angry with you. It has nothing to do with you. They are simply frustrated that they can’t accomplish their goal. They had hoped that your product or service would help them accomplish what they needed to accomplish. And, as they see it, it did not.

Understand what they are trying to accomplish and help them accomplish that goal. If they can accomplish their goal – it reduces the impact of the “faulty product”. Then you can focus on a refund of the product, etc.

Do apologize

Don’t take offense. Just apologize for the inconvenience and take responsibility for fixing the issue. Many feel apologizing means taking the blame. But taking responsibility merely means “response able” – or being able to respond to the situation.

Don’t make excuses

The customer doesn’t need excuses. They need their issue corrected. Providing them excuses and reasons why they are in this predicament does little to appease them or fix the problem. The faster you can move focus away from the problem and onto the solution, the better for all involved.

Do put yourself in their shoes

A good way to immediately diffuse the situation is to empathize. Share a similar experience from your past. This may also help you develop a solution together. The more the client is involved in finding a suitable solution, the faster their attitude will improve.

Don’t ‘pass the buck’

Avoid ‘passing the buck’ to someone else, either in blame or in resolution. Remember, spend as little time as possible talking about how the problem occurred. If you need to hand off to a supervisor, manager or another expert, make sure you are involved in the hand-off. Introduce the parties involved and explain the situation to your hand-off buddy in front of the client. This allows the client to correct any misunderstandings while, at the same time, eliminates the need for the client to repeat their entire story. We’ve worked very hard to uplift the client; we don’t want to bring them back to the negative place from whence they started. Making them repeat the problem to a new person brings your client right back to that negative place.

Do ask for help

Don’t fake it. If you need help, please get it. There’s nothing wrong with telling the client that you’ve taken this issue as far as you can, and you need additional help to take it to the next level. Just don’t abandon the client; instead, stay with them until the issue is concluded. Be the continuity the client needs to bring this issue to a satisfying conclusion. If you need to hand-off to someone else, make sure to get the client’s telephone number and call them back to assure the issue was concluded satisfactorily.

Stay calm

By all means, stay calm – even if your customer is upset. If you are calm, they will start to calm down. Calmness illustrates confidence and expertise.

For additional information on this topic, please contact

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link