CHAPTER 4

Avoiding TriggerPhrases

HUMAN NATURE often does something amazing for us in our most difficult customer situations: It leads us to say exactly the wrong thing—particularly in a crisis.

This is a survival instinct that dates back to when we were cave people in prehistoric times. When someone challenges us, threatens us, or makes us uncomfortable, we push back. We tell people what we can’t, don’t, and won’t do. We lay the blame for the problem at the customers’ feet. Then we make the situation even more difficult for them (“Sorry, you’ll have to speak to a manager about that. And you’ll have to come back next Tuesday when the manager is here.”). And then customers react in ways that are not exactly pleasant.

Here is a simple example. ...

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