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Magic Phrases

October 31, 2011

This video is a fun example of how to buy yourself some time when you are working with a difficult customer.  I went to work the next day after watching this video and tested out his theory. When some of my frequent customers came in I used the phrases.  What I found, was the more I used those phrases the more frustrated my customers got. Initially the phrases did buy me some time, for my customers continued to talk and give me more information, but towards the end it got a little heated. Here is a dialog between me and one of my customers.

Customer: Hi Amanda, I have a dilemma, we are going to be missing 3 classes in November, I know we are not entitled for make ups but I wanted to see what you could do for me.

Amanda: Ok that’s interesting; tell me more about why you are missing.

Customer: Well (slightly irritated) we have a lot of family coming into town and they want to spend time with the new baby, we may be able to make it to some classes but I highly doubt it. Is there anything we can do to not miss those classes?

Amanda:  Ok, that’s interesting, why would you ask me this question when you know you are not a part of the program that allow for make ups.

Customer (VERY IRRITATED HERE) I don’t know, I just thought that since we have been coming here for a while you would be able to help us out.

After this answer I stopped the test. These phrases could work to answer any question that is thrown at you, but to what extent are you willing to frustrate your customer. Don’t let these phrases fool you. Yes you can use them but they have to be in a specific situation and you have to be willing to possibly anger your customer even more than he or she already is.

Here are some more tips that may help you buy time but not frustrate your customer

  1. Ok, let me make sure I understand what you are saying. (repeat) This will help insure your customer that you are listening and comprehending what they are saying.
  2. I do understand your situation, and I am sympathetic to it, but I have to follow polices Policies always trump when dealing with angry customers
  3. I’m not sure I understand what the problem is, do you mind repeating it.

These will all help you buy some time until you figure out what it is you can actually do to help your customer

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