Thursday, August 30, 2001

How to Keep an Angry Customer from Dumping You

If You Goof...

1. Listen
Let the customer talk and vent. Don’t respond.

2. Thank customer

Thank the customer for bringing the error to your attention and taking the time to call.

3. Show empathy
“Boy, I can understand how you feel. We promised to do X-Y-Z and didn’t do it. I can see how that messed you up.”

4. Turn the tables.

Insist that you’re the customer and it’s the caller who failed you. When the customer protests, remind them that they’re the ones who called you. When they say “No, I called you,” say “Are you calling me a liar?” then ask to speak to a supervisor and hang up.

5. Enter a state of religious ecstacy.
In your best televangelist imitation start hooting and hollering. “Lord Jesus, this customer call center is not WORTHY in your sight! Lord Jesus, CLEANSE this place of our wickedness,” etc. Begin handling snakes and speaking in tongues.

6. Do your best Robert DiNiro in Taxi Driver imitation.
Rant psychotically. “You got a fucking complaint, you complaining to me?” etc. “Are you in pain? Am I causing you pain?” Offer to end their pain. Offer to go to the customer’s house and kill them.

7. Move from regret to sadomasochism, ultimately offering the customer kinky sexual favors.

“I’ve been a bad customer service representative. I’ll bet you want to punish me. I’ll bet you want to take me out in the street and spank me. Do you want to spank me?” Etc., etc....

8. Commit suicide.
Tell the customer “I am not worthy. I have failed you. I have dishonored myself -- and my house.” Then shoot or disembowel yourself.

9. Convince the customer that nothing exists.
Using the Socratic method, establish that conventional notions of separate “selves” existing in an objective physical “universe” are all illusions. “I am he as you are me and we are she and we are all together. Googoogajoob.” What could be clearer than that?

10. Escalate the conflict to the realm of espionage and geopolitical terror.

In a standard James Bond villain accent say “You’ve won this round. But the game is far from over.” Hang up. Then set fire to the customer’s house while nailing a set of political demands to a nearby tree. Change your identity and move to a foreign country, waiting in hiding for years, calling the customer at random every few years (“Remember me?”) or so to make them sweat....

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