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The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Even the Worst Customer Situations

Richard Gallagher Carol Roth



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16 April 2013
Customer services
The worst customer situations demand more of front-line employees than good intentions and the right attitude. These kinds of issues can send seasoned service professionals into red alert, and require the communication skills of a crisis counselor. The Customer Service Survival Kit explains how to use the right words to turn volatile scenarios into calm and productive customer encounters. Anyone can learn this delicate art with the book's blend of clear techniques, lessons from behavioral science, case studies, situation-specific advice, and practice exercises. Readers will discover: The power of leaning into criticism Trigger phrases that can make bad situations worse The secret to helping people feel deeply heard in a crisis How to use the divide-and-conquer approach to safely deliver bad news Indispensable problem-solving tools How to become immune to intimidation How to wrap up transactions so that customers are happy And more! Best yet, learning to handle worst-case scenarios has the spillover effect of boosting the skills and confidence needed to deal effectively with ANY customer-the key to radical improvements in every organization.
By:   Richard Gallagher
Foreword by:   Carol Roth
Imprint:   Amacom
Country of Publication:   United States
Edition:   Special ed.
Dimensions:   Height: 90mm,  Width: 61mm,  Spine: 6mm
Weight:   1g
ISBN:   9780814431832
ISBN 10:   0814431836
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   16 April 2013
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
CONTENTS Foreword by Carol Roth xiii Acknowledgments xv Introduction 1 PART I WHY WORST-CASE SCENARIOS MATTER 5 Chapter 1 Understanding the ``Uh-Oh'' Moment 7 Why Worst-Case Scenarios Are Important 8 Good Intentions Are Not Enough 11 PART II TOOLS FOR DEFUSING A CUSTOMER CRISIS 15 Chapter 2 Leaning Into Criticism 17 Step 1: Hand Their Complaints Back to Them 19 Step 2: Use ``Wow'' Words 20 Step 3: Steal All Their Good Lines 22 Step 4: Never Defend Yourself First 23 Why Leaning In Is So Hard 25 Putting Learning into Practice 27 Chapter 3 Achieving Deep Acknowledgment 28 Why We Don't Acknowledge Demanding Customers 29 The Four Powerful Levels of Response 30 Acknowledgment: Your Key to Handling Any Situation 37 Putting Learning into Practice 38 Chapter 4 Avoiding Trigger Phrases 40 The Other Golden Rule 41 Trigger Phrases and How You Can Avoid Them 42 Less Is Often More 48 Putting Learning into Practice 49 Chapter 5 Divide and Conquer: The Safe Way to Deliver Bad News 51 Step 1: A Good Introduction That Prepares the Customer 52 Step 2: A Proactive Summary That Moves the Customer Toward a Solution 55 Step 3: An Empathetic Response to the Customer's Reactions 57 Putting Learning into Practice 60 Chapter 6 Powerful Problem Solving: Beyond ``Yes We Can'' and ``No We Can't'' 62 Step 1: Clarify the Other Person's Needs 63 Step 2: Frame Your Response 64 Step 3: Create Incentives 67 Step 4: Respond to Objections 68 A New Way to Solve Problems 69 Putting Learning into Practice 70 Chapter 7 Reframing Your Message 72 How Reframing Works 72 When Reframing Is a Bad Idea 76 A New Perspective 78 Putting Learning into Practice 79 Chapter 8 Grounding an Angry Outburst 81 Understanding Customer Anger 81 Step 1: Use the Highest Acknowledgment Level Possible 83 Step 2: Ask Assessment Questions 86 Step 3: Shift the Discussion 88 Working in the Red Zone 92 Putting Learning into Practice 93 Chapter 9 Becoming Immune to Intimidation 94 Angry Customers vs. Toxic Entitlement 95 The Basics of Nonreactivity 97 Putting Nonreactivity to Work 101 Can Entitled Customers Change? 102 Putting Learning into Practice 103 Chapter 10 The Wrap-Up 105 Understanding Good Closings 105 The Right Ending: A Good Beginning 110 Putting Learning into Practice 110 PART III YOUR WORST CUSTOMER SITUATIONS-SOLVED! 113 Chapter 11 You're the Boss 115 Lean Into the Customer's Biggest Concerns 116 Ask Good Questions 117 Respond to Threats with ``Can-Do'' Language 119 The Law of Reciprocity 120 Chapter 12 Don't You Know Who I Am? 121 Mirror the Customer's Emotions 121 Explore the Options 122 Use the LPFSA 124 Show a Personal Interest 124 Chapter 13 The Concert That Never Was 125 Talk with the Customer First 126 Practice Creative Service Recovery 127 Respond to the Public 129 Chapter 14 I'll Be Suing You 131 Do Not-Repeat, Do Not-Defend Yourself First 132 Explore Solutions 133 Frame the Benefits 133 Chapter 15 Quelling a Social Media Firestorm 135 Be Real 136 Be Quick 136 Reach Out to the Person Behind the Keyboard 137 Trust the Will of the Crowd 137 Chapter 16 Just Plane Terrible 139 Be Present 140 Deliver the Bad News in Stages 141 Reframe the Situation 142 Don't Take It Personally 143 Chapter 17 Anger Management 145 Frame the Situation 145 Acknowledge Bruno 146 Frame Your Response 148 Execute the Endgame 149 Relationship Building 150 Chapter 18 Not So Smart 151 Meet the Customer Where He Is 151 Explore the Deeper Question 152 Make the Customer Feel Good 153 PART IV BEYOND THE WORST CASE 155 Chapter 19 When Talking Isn't Enough: Keeping Yourself and Your Customer Safe 157 Situational Awareness: Trusting Your Gut 158 Reacting to Risk 160 Don't Go It Alone: Have a Safety Plan 162 Chapter 20 From Customer Crisis to Excellent Service: Lessons for the Whole Organization 164 Creating a Service Culture 164 Managing Internal Conflict 166 Personal Growth 167 Communicating as an Organization 168 The Bottom Line 169 Appendix Solutions to Putting Learning into Practice Exercises 171 References 179 Index 183 About the Author 189

RICHARD S. GALLAGHER is a former customer support executive, practicing psychotherapist, and author of several books on customer service and communications skills.

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