Monday, January 26, 2015

6 Tips for Dealing with an Angry Customer

No matter where you work or what you do, you will inevitably face a member/client/parent/customer/sponsor who is really MAD. And guess what? They want nothing more than to scream at YOU. Here's some tips for how to deal....

1. The customer is not always RIGHT, but they always deserve to be heard and respected

Yup, I said it. The customer is NOT always right. In fact, there are times when they are very, very wrong. They missed a deadline and have a lame excuse. Or they simply ignored all of the emails you've been sending and just made assumptions. Whatever the case, there are many times when the customer is 100% bonkers.

With that being said, whether they are wrong or the fault is with the company, you still need to remember to treat that person with respect and courtesy. Providing consistent customer service, regardless of how much this person is screaming in your ear, is a valuable skill to learn. Most of the time, the customer is just very confused, and in turn, very frustrated. So, set the tone that you are here to help and walk them through it. Ensure them that you can clear up any confusion.

2. Don't throw anyone under the bus, especially your team members.

This is something I find to be of utmost importance. Don't ever say "Sorry that was Sally's fault, she gave you incorrect information." You never want to use a team member as a scapegoat. It's important to appear to members and clients as a unified force who stands by what each other says. 

So, even if the client is angry, you can "back" your coworker if they were correct. Obviously, you still remain courteous and understanding, but you ultimately repeat the correct information given by your coworker until they (hopefully) see the light. If the client is angry AND your coworker was incorrect, then you absolutely admit that the organization made a mistake and apologize. But, you say "Yes, I apologize for that mistake on OUR part." Accept the fault as a unit. Never play the blame game with your team.

3. Be willing to take the fall when it doesn't do damage.

In some cases, the customer is clearly wrong, but if the issue is minor, you can take the fall. Especially if it will lead to a quick fix and calm their anxiety. If it's a very minor issue, don't waste your time battling with them over semantics. Just apologize, and move forward with a solution. Sometimes it's hard to put your pride aside (when you know you're right), but remember, this isn't personal. It's not about you. It's about providing quality customer service and being a good representative for your organization. 

4. Patience is a virtue. Explain HOW and WHY. Then explain again.

My strategy when dealing with an angry client who is clearly confused is to explain the details/process/rules in a couple different ways until they start to understand. Patience is difficult, but it's key. You have to first listen and let them get it all out (without interruption). Then you can attempt to explain the process in a variety of ways. Most of the time, once they start to understand where they were wrong or confused, they will start to lighten up. However, there will always be clients who refuse to back down and all you can do is be understanding while they let out their frustration.  Just remain patient on the phone. Don't let them "see" you sweat.

5. The email that makes your blood boil: Wait 24 hours to respond.

Sometimes an irate client doesn't communicate with you in person or other the phone. There may be a day when you open your inbox and BAM! You're hit with a 7 paragraph rant-fest at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Trust me when I say, this is most likely going to happen more than once in your career. And trust me when I say, it's  most likely going to get you fired up. The best thing to do is read it thoroughly, then flag it for later. After having several hours to calm down, draft up a response. Make sure to take your personal emotions out of it. Always have a fellow staff member read the response before sending. They can give you a third party perspective and help edit in a way that is professional and appropriate. 

6. Get over it.

Honestly, this can be the hardest part of it all: the aftermath. It can be easy if the issue is strictly about a work procedure. However, sometimes the customers play dirty and you may feel that you were attacked on a personal level. Those encounters are hard to shake. But it's really important to build that bridge and get over it. For the sake of your own sanity, this is a must. As long as you've reached an understanding, provided a solution, or simply agreed to disagree, then move on! Housing any negativity is just going to hinder you from doing your best work. 

/  /  /  /

You will always face adversity in your career. And you will always have to fight the tendency to get upset or lash out. Try some of the tips above the next time you have someone yelling in your ear. Handling it with grace and professionalism not only makes YOU look good, but it makes your organization look good. And that's something any boss can certainly appreciate.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Really Simple Recipes for People Who Really Really Suck at Cooking. Really. - Chicken Florentine Pasta

I told you all I was going to start trying a new recipe each week! This week's was Chicken Florentine Pasta, recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

I'll have to admit something about this one. There was a lot going on at one time that it just barely fit into the "Really Simple Recipes for People Who Really Really Suck at Cooking. Really." family.

The recipe uses words like "mince" and "reduce" and that's taking it a bit too far for my kitchen.

1. Assemble the ingredients. (See the original recipe for exact amounts/instructions.)

  • Chicken (we used some we had left over from the wraps!)
  • White wine (extra to pour in your drinking glass)
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Baby spinach
  • Tomato (we don't like tomatoes so I threw in a pepper to still get some color)
  • Chicken broth
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan wedge 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Women and Work Series - Part Two

Last week I shared Part One of the New York Times Women and Work Series by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (When Talking About Bias Backfires). Below are some excerpts from Part Two and a link to the full article.

Speaking While Female

"We’ve both seen it happen again and again. When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea. As a result, women often decide that saying less is more.


This speaking-up double bind harms organizations by depriving them of valuable ideas. A University of Texas researcher, Ethan Burris, conducted an experiment in which he asked teams to make strategic decisions for a bookstore. He randomly informed one member that the bookstore’s inventory system was flawed and gave that person data about a better approach. In subsequent analyses, he found that when women challenged the old system and suggested a new one, team leaders viewed them as less loyal and were less likely to act on their suggestions. Even when all team members were informed that one member possessed unique information that would benefit the group, suggestions from women with inside knowledge were discounted.


Professor Burris and his colleagues studied a credit union where women made up 74 percent of supervisors and 84 percent of front-line employees. Sure enough, when women spoke up there, they were more likely to be heard than men. When President Obama held his last news conference of 2014, he called on eight reporters — all women. It made headlines worldwide. Had a politician given only men a chance to ask questions, it would not have been news; it would have been a regular day."

Click here for the full article.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Really Simple Recipes for People Who Really Really Suck at Cooking. Really. - Grilled Chicken Wraps

Welcome to my new cooking series (HAH.. never thought I would type those words), "Really Simple Recipes for People Who Really Really Suck at Cooking. Really."

If you know your way around a kitchen, SWIM AWAY SWIM AWAY!

If you can burn water, please stick around!

Today we are talking about grilled chicken wraps. These are fun because they are easy, inexpensive, somewhat healthy, and best of all, you can put whatever the heck you want in them!

Here is what we had on hand last night for ingredients.

Also worth noting, my phone that normally takes really crisp photos must have had one too many Chardonnays last night because man these pics look blurry today. Guess the photos will have to be as sub par as the cooking. #bloggeroftheyear