1. Why does that customer get mad at me?
Solution: Direct employees to invite customers to complain
to management about the problem. How? Make a simple complaint
at the cashier's counter or any
other location where customers can comfortably fill it out.
2. I hate being yelled at.
Solution: Develop a consistent approach to each type
of customer anger. A customer complaining about wash inadequacies,
for example, might receive an apology and a coupon for a free
wash. A customer making a complaint about damage to his vehicle
might be offered a sit-down meeting with the manager or owner.
Train your people to respond the way you want them to.
3. After I deal with that customer, I feel like I'm going
Solution: Give your people the opportunity for a debriefing.
As a matter of policy, ask employees who encounter difficult customers
to see you afterwards. Let them verbalize the problem. An especially
difficult customer confrontation? Offer a cup of coffee or a half-hour
4. I just can't seem to please that customer!
Solution: Suggest to your employees that they allow angry
customers to decide what will make them feel better. This does
not mean customers will dictate the terms of the solution - especially
if your approval is needed - but it gives employees a way to get
5. No matter how baseless the complaint seems, I still feel
Solution: Encourage employees to depersonalize these encounters.
Role-play the verbal techniques and bodily expressions that help
foster a spirit of objectivity and ease. More than a few organizations
teach their people how to turn confrontations into theatre, with
employees serving as actors when they deal with hostile customers.
6. I'm just not sure what to do when someone starts jumping
all over me.
Solution: Give your employees specific procedures they
can follow when confronted with hostility. Procedures can include
completion of forms, or firm reassurances about company policies.
7. I don't feel adequate to deal with that customer.
Solution: Invite your employees to refer problem customers
to you, to a manager or another employee. Being able to pass thorny
problems along gives your employees a tremendous sense of security.
8. Does anyone else really care about the distress livid customers
Solution: Whenever an employee encounters customer hostility,
ask him or her to complete a "customer dissatisfaction"
report. This simple act helps provide employees with an outlet
for their frustration - and gives the car wash management an opportunity
to consider the problems that do arise.
9. Dealing with a fuming customer is the worst part of this
Solution: Make it one of the better parts of the job by
providing employees with rewards whenever they constructively
deal with a
customer's anger. Remember: Even simple thanks and praise are
examples of rewards.
10. I feel like the only person in the world who has to deal
with that nasty customer.
Solution: Invite employees to team up with peers whenever
they encounter antagonism. Positive morale often begins with teamwork.
Customer anger exists. Nothing
you say or do will make it go away. But helping your employees cope
with anger - and even creatively address it - will go a long way toward
easing their frustrations. Best yet, it might even give your customer-relations
efforts a welcome boost.