veryone has grown tired of the grossly overused phrase “politically correct.” That doesn't mean the concept has been abandoned, it simply means we don't say it out loud in mixed company.
As an example, “postmodern communication” is the newest label coined for a way of talking that's been going on for millenniums. Although postmodern communication has a bit of zing, as I interpret the latest name, it is simply nothing more than doubletalk. The concept of doubletalk is pretty simple. All a person needs to do is avoid the concept of the absolute truth. Only hint at the truth while telling people what they want to hear, or in its worst form, circumventing the truth in such a manner that it can be used as a defense, “You must have misunderstood what I was trying to say."
It's easy to understand why some people feel the need to use doubletalk as a form of communication. For those who have trouble making a decision, doubletalk is something of a relief. It lets everyone involved draw their own conclusion, without any commitment on the part of the initiator.
That said, this can be a serious issue even at the hobby store level. All people like to be agreed with and probably even more importantly is the previously mentioned, telling a person what he wants to hear. Usually, it’s a conclusion he’s already formulated and simply needs verification, even when he is wrong, that his way of thinking is correct.
Every dealer has the customer who had a problem with a recently purchased product. He’s entered your store already in an argumentative and defensive state. Regardless of what has happened, as far as the customer is concerned he’s been screwed over by somebody, perhaps it was you, or maybe it was the manufacturer, but somebody has sold him a defective product and he wants, no he is demanding—at the top of his lungs—satisfaction.
Obviously, the first thing that needs attention is to take the customer off of the defensive and ease his sense of aggression. My wife is a master at this; I must admit I am not. I relish an occasional confrontation. Although this might have been a good thing in my previous career, it’s not necessarily an attribute when dealing with an irate customer.
What Cindy, along with many people who are successful in dealing with customer relations, is good at is calming a person and letting them know she’s there to work with him to help resolve the issue, but she never ever lies to a customer, or makes false promises she knows she cannot keep. False promises will quickly calm an irate customer, but they only work for a short time, usually compounding the issue when broken in the future.
During Cindy’s hospital stay last summer I was tired of getting the runaround. I kept asking for answers. One morning I let a nurse have it. Saying something she thought I’d like to hear, I was lied to, and with the already increased dynamics it wasnt a good move to make on her part. Like many, I don't apologize, for reacting negatively when lied to.
This is something all dealers should take to heart when dealing with a customer. Frequently, tension is already running high and the worst thing a person can do is lie. Many times it’s said only as a stop-gap to bring the situation under control, but the bottom line is you have lied to a customer, and this is not the sort of reputation any dealer wants.
When dealing with an irate customer, the first thing is to defuse the situation. Let him know you are willing to work together towards a positive resolution. But don't practice postmodern communication. It never has been an effective way of dealing with people. HM
Until next month,