When a customer disagrees with your policy

From the course: De-Escalating Intense Situations

  • Course details

    Nearly every customer service professional has encountered a livid customer. These individuals may yell, curse, or forcefully disagree with a policy that you must enforce, but can't control. Such situations are unquestionably tough, but—with the right approach—you can consistently de-escalate the tension. In this course, instructor Myra Golden shares strategies for defusing intense situations, providing practical approaches that can help you calm angry customers. Myra goes over what often causes situations to escalate, and shares practical steps you can take to prevent an escalation. She also provides tips that can help you reframe conversations, manage expectations, handle customers who ask for your supervisor, and more.


    • Click here to view Myra Golden’s instructor page

      Myra Golden

      Customized Engaging Digital Customer Service Training and Instructor at LinkedIn Learning

      Myra Golden is an author, trainer, and keynote speaker.

      For over 20 years, Myra has been helping companies improve the customer experience through her customer service training workshops. She has a master's degree in human relations and a bachelor's degree in psychology, helping her to understand the challenges of developing the best customer experience as it relates to the psychology of the employees.

      Myra has helped McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Michelin, Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley and many others improve the customer experience through her training. She was named one of the top 10 customer service bloggers by Huffington Post, and she is the co-author of Beyond WOW: Defining A New Level of Customer Service.

    Skills covered in this course

  • Why you've been unsuccessful with angry customers

    - When customers don't think your policy is reasonable, they may push back, asking to talk to a supervisor or becoming difficult. Because policies usually can't be changed, we have to learn the best approach to get customers to accept your word as final. One of my clients is an optometry office and like all medical practices, this office is regulated by the FDA. One of the mandates is prescriptions can't be renewed without a patient seeing an optometrist. Patients whose vision hasn't changed, don't always want to go through the expense of an eye exam but it's not up to the receptionist, or even the doctor, the FDA makes the rules. Using that client's situation, I'm going to show you how to reduce escalations when it comes to policies customers disagree with. - [Employee] Hi. - Hi, I need to reorder contact lenses, please. - Well, we can help you with that. I will just need to schedule an eye exam first, and you can purchase lenses during that visit. - My eyes haven't changed, I just need to reorder my same prescription from last year. - We have to see patients before we fill in any prescription for contacts or glasses. - But if my eyes haven't changed, why do I have to come in? - [Employee] Well... - It seems to me like you just want to bill patients for time seeing the doctor. Either let me order my contacts or let me speak to a manager. - Just stating the policy with no explanation and no empathy frustrates the customer. Now watch as the employee reframes the conversation using both empathy and an explanation. - Hi. - Hi, I need to reorder contact lenses, please. - We can help you with that. I see you haven't been in our office since July, 9th. That means you're due for an exam. We'll just have to schedule you for an eye exam and you can purchase lenses during that visit. - My eyes haven't changed, I just need to reorder my same prescription from last year. - We realize it can be frustrating to have to come in and do an exam when you don't sense any changes in your eyes. The FDA requires that we see patients once annually before refilling prescriptions. It's to protect the health of your eyes. - Alright, well, let's schedule an appointment then. - This time, the employee offered empathy when he said, "We realize it can be frustrating "to have to come in." And he gave an explanation that justifies the policy. The empathy and explanation reframed the message to establish trust. And a sense of trust helps you create calm with unhappy customers. Customers still may not like your policies but many will at least think, okay, that makes sense, and they'll be more likely to accept your policy and your word as final.

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