Have you noticed lately when you have a complaint to a company the voice on the other end offers a cheap discount and ends with “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

railcrossSince when will it be okay to give three free months of a service that does not have anything to do with fixing the original issue? It would be like offering a grape to someone with a rotten watermelon.

Effective listening is not something that is done by offering freebies and an end all company question that goes nowhere; it is actively listening with the intentions to solve the root of the problem. When you treat customer problems the same way every time you begin to cheapen your loyalty and make your customers feel less valued.

So how can you help your team communicate more effectively with a complaining customer? Remember what you were taught before crossing train tracks? That’s right you savvy business leader, Stop, Look and Listen!

Stop – Stop what you are doing. No one can communicate effectively while they are trying to finish another task. Background noise should be kept to a minimum in customer service areas.


Look – Look at the problem from the point of view of your customer. If it is worth their time to call, it should be worth your time to look into. Take notes and share them with all relevant parts of your business.


Listen – Listen without interruption. Use intention of understanding, not just intentions of replying. Keep focused on the customer’s issues and confirm to them that you understand what the complaint is about when they are finished.


Once you really understand the complaint, you can start the process of asking questioning to gain a deeper understanding of the issue.