Festivus on Marketing (Part 2): Airing of Grievances

Airing of Grievances

This is Part 2 of a small series called Festivus on Marketing (ending on December 23rd, of course!). You can read Part 1 here.

Festivus is a holiday that Frank Costanza of the TV show Seinfeld created because he “hated all the commercial and religious aspects of Christmas, so he made up his own holiday.”

One of Festivus’ (say that 3 times fast) main events is called “Airing of Grievances.” It takes place during the traditional Festivus dinner and is a time to “gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year.”

So what do you do if a customer wants you to know all they ways you have disappointed her over the past year? Here’s some advice on dealing with angry customers:

  1. Listen. You might gain some valuable insights if can you quiet these automatic “yabut” rebuttals formulating loudly in your head and give your full, undivided attention to your customer.
  2. Say “thank you.” Sincerely thank the customer for giving you the feedback.
  3. Apologize and show empathy. Nothing diffuses a laundry list of grievances like an apology and a small dose of empathy. Be quick to apologize that your service did not meet their expectations.
  4. Follow up. Many complaints helpful suggestions seem as if they won’t make it past the first layer of bureaucracy at the customer service counter. Tell the upset customer what you are going to do to resolve the issue and when they will hear back from you.

What else would you say helps to calm a customer with a list of grievances? Has anything worked for you?

Just 3 days until Festivus. I can feel it in the air!

[Photo Credit: gerardniemira]

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