Learn the step by step process of how to learn from upset and frustrated customers from the legendary midwest entrepreneur, Doctor Robert Zoellner.Sign Up to Watch
udemy for customer service training
-I have a question to ask during this customer service training, have you ever had a customer that you can think of-- I'm not asking for their name-- but a customer, you thought it'd be who you've worked with, that you've upset, or they gave you some feedback that was pretty harsh, but it dramatically helped you improve your business?
-Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that some people, unfortunately, have to get really emotional and really upset to do a call to action. Some people, if they're just like, oh, that's just an annoyance, or it could've been better, those people typically don't call you. And they don't email you.
It's the ones that have that horrible, horrible experience for the most part, and then they get so emotional about it. They get so worked up. And they've told two or three people they know. And those two or three people have fired them up to go, that was so wrong.
And then they call you, and they are just ready for a fight. And they are expecting a fight. And so, whenever you don't argue with them, whenever you don't fight with them, and you defuse them, you can then glean quite a bit from those people.
And I think a lot of it has to do with-- you'd be amazed at how much of it's due to this deal of, OK, when you communicate with somebody, how much of what you're saying is the actual words out of your mouth? Not much. 20%, studies show.
80% percent of communication is body language, the tone, the way you're saying it. And so, this whole idea that people come through your businesses and feel that people are treating them a certain way, they're right. You've got to believe them. And so I think that's a thing that I have probably done the most is sorting out those good employees versus bad employees.
-Sorting out the employees with the right attitude and the wrong attitudes. Because here's the deal. You've got to believe your customers.
-Over the staffer who says, well, everyone's crazy.
-Yeah. They're going to say, oh, I was mean to that person. They're going to tell you exactly what they said, and the words themselves were not mean. It's the way they said it.
It's the fact they didn't look up at them. It's the fact that they didn't acknowledge them. It's the fact that they, uh, after they were asked to do something. It's all those things.
And I've said it before in this customer service training, and I'll say it again. People change seldom. So you need to get friendly, good attitude people. And your customers can help you sort through them.
-People change seldom.
-People change seldom. Quote me for that.
-I think it's huge because I know in your business-- and I'm just going to say this. And I hope somebody watching this is hearing me. I hope it helps you. I hope it blesses you. I hope it slightly offends you enough to make a change here.
But there's somebody watching this. In particular, there's a guy that I met about two years ago at an event, and he says, it's been hard to find good staff. I said, what do you mean?
He said, well, I hired a lady. She is not working out. She is not. How long has she been there? Well, I have given her about six months to see if she's a good fit.
Six months, he says, for this one person. It's a small business of four employees.
-Well, how long did you keep the person before?
-Well, it was about four months before I figured out they were good. And you're a very small business. And you know somebody's not a good fit, you need to tell them. You need to inform them. Give them an opportunity to change, but you have to move quickly. Don't you?
-Absolutely. I've said it before. I mean, you want to leave people better off than when you found them in life. Going through life, you leave a trail of experiences. But, on the other side is that, unless your business is life coaching, you're not a life coach. You're there to run your business and to find people that are going to do the job and do it the way you want them to do it, and that's it.
And so, it's not being mean. If it's not a good fit, guess what? It ain't going to change. So you need to do what you need to do.
And you need to be aggressive. Get somebody in there. And then mystery shop them, get them tested, have people come in and experience them.
And if they're good, they're good. Some days, we can all have a little off day. Some days, you need a little tweaking, and some days, you may need a little rah-rah encouragement. For the most part, people change seldom.
-So let's go ahead and role play an example here. So let's say that I am a customer. Say I'm a business. I bought a car from your auto auction. And I drive home and the axle breaks. It probably wouldn't happen, but let's just say it did.
DR. ROBERT ZOELLNER: (CHUCKLING) OK.
-Some weird scenario, the AC goes out while I'm driving home. And I'm like, what's going on? If I come into your business, and I complain, walk me through how you handle that process from start to end. I always want to hear how you do it here if somebody has a complaint.
-Well, if they have a complaint, you listen to it. You believe them. You listen to them. And then you ask them, well, what would you like for me to do about it? And a lot of times they'll say, well, I want you do XYZ. And if it's within your realm of possibilities, you do XYZ, and you keep them gathered up.
So let's say, for example-- it's probably not the best example for a number of reasons, but let's go with it. Let's say they buy a car through here. I did not own the car. Somebody else owned the car. So now I have two people in the transaction. I have the buyer and the seller.
So let's say then, when it's all said and done, the seller is happy because he sold his car and got his money. And the buyer is like, I'm not happy. I bought a bad car, so now help me.
So now, I have to go back over here to the seller and say, listen. Billy Bob, over here, bought this car. And I have to try to convince him that it's in his best interest for us to unwind the deal and for him now to be the one that-- he could say, listen. He bought it fair and square. Those are the rules. Have a nice day.
And this guy over here could say, well, I'll never be back. Or I'll never buy from him. So I try to encourage him that's in his best interest to keep this guy as a potential buyer of his cars at my auction to go ahead and do the right thing by him. So sometimes you're the kind of referee in this instance.
But I would advise him to unwind the deal, to take the car back, to fix it on his own nickel, to try to do what he needs to do with the car. Make this guy real happy, so he keeps coming back to my auction. And then he potentially keeps buying cars from us. So now his integrity level goes up.
-And the things that you learned from this-- let's say that it was a customer service issue. They love the car. The car's great, but somebody who works in your staff upset him, or something.
Once you've learned whatever you need to learn from that, so once you've learned like, OK, maybe I shouldn't buy cars from that source. Or maybe this front desk person has an issue. How quickly do you take what you've learned and share it with the team and move on? I mean, how quickly do you try to--
-Immediately. I mean, I try to go to that person's supervisor and talk to them. Being the owner, I have a chain of command. And so, as I learn things, I try to use that chain of command to try to fix those things.
CLAY CLARK: Love that.
-So the first person I would go to is my general manager and say, hey, listen, boom. Here's what I heard. Fix it.
And I always tell my managers, if you can't fix it, I'll fix it. You don't want me to fix it. You better fix it.
And so then they are empowered now. They've heard what's happened. And then they go down through their chain of command, and they fix the situation.
-So if you have an issue-- I want to make sure I'm getting this-- you have an issue with customer service, you don't go to the actual person working in customer service. You go to their manager.
-But when you started your optometry clinic, and it was just you and your wife and then like, a dude, you would talk to the dude directly.
DR. ROBERT ZOELLNER: Yes.
-But as soon as you got big enough to hire a manager, now you created that channel or that pathway where you just go to their manager.
-If you're going to have a manager, you've got to use them. And if you don't use them, what you've really said to them is that I don't value what you're doing in my operation. And you emasculate them in the sense that you're saying, listen, I don't really need you. And that's not the right message to say. If you're going to feel like you need a manager, then use the manager, and use them properly.
-They're not going to always do things perfect, I should say. But here again, it's a learning curve for them too.
-Now I owned up to some of my own weird customer service habit early on. What we're going to do now is we're going to dive into the three destructive beliefs that a lot of entrepreneurs have. Not Thrivers. I'm sure it's just the friends of the people who are subscribing to Thrive. But the three destructive beliefs that a lot entrepreneurs have. And I want to get your take on how we should deal with this. OK?
-So one is the blame and justify move. The blame and justify move. Where basically the owner tries to spend their time explaining to the customer why the problem occurred, rather than for asking what they could do better in the future. Or what might have caused the problem. Do you do you see this a lot in the business world? Do you see examples when you take your wife out to eat. Or when you have buddies that you talk to about their business. Or you see young men or people who are asking you for help? Do you see this blame and justify thing going on a lot where you blame the customer?
-Absolutely. When it's somebody I know that's doing it, I just reach up and slap them across the face in a kind, loving, gentle way and say stop that.
-I still have the marks.
-Stop the madness. Stop the madness. That's not how you build your business. And just like we said just a little bit ago. You have to believe them, listen to them, and then you have to answer and you have to move forward with it. Sitting there worried about the birthing pains, let's focus on the baby. Let's focus on what we need to do to make it better. Let's not look behind us. Let's look forward.
-I love it. So you're saying, focus on the baby, not the birthing pains. That's phenomenal. So if you have an issue in your business right now, focus on the end result you're going for, focus on the solution. Don't sit there and talk about how, oh my gosh, I can't believe how upset she was. Don't make it dramatic.
-Right exactly. And I think you get that with that mindset of as you're dealing with that person, or you're dealing with that situation. You've got to deal with, let's not worry about what's happened. Let's worry about how we fix it and move forward. As long as you've got your-- quit looking behind you, just look forward. You could then go back and maybe reassess that, and maybe then reevaluate some things later on to take some inner workings you may have in your own business. But in that situation, the heat of the moment. Because it's usually heated, for the most part. There's using some emotion in there. You have to defuse it by owning it, apologizing for it, and then taking constructive steps to go forward.
-For the entrepreneur watching this who says, I'm just emotional. When people complain, it hurts my soul. You know they say it sometimes. I hear it. What do you say to that person on the other side of the camera right now? They're watching this and they're going he doesn't understand, I'm just emotional.
-Come here. Come a little closer. (SLAPPING SOUND) Stop it. Take a deep breath. Act like you're somebody else. Go to your happy spot. Do what you need to do, but get that out of there. Because if you're dealing with emotion, you can't think straight. And thinking straight is how you figure out a way to make this person happy, to fiz the problem and to move forward and build your business. And that's what's important. Understand that is the goal. That's the goal.
-Hammering home what you just said. Just because I know of your success, and a lot of people do, but nationwide, maybe someone is not as familiar with you. So I'm going to read a quote that really supports your thoughts on this.
-Howard Schultz, the founder Starbucks.
-I love all your quotes, by the way.
-He says, in the life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self pity, or you could pick yourself up and say, listen I have to be responsible for myself. Now I love it. I would because Howard Schultz says it. Dr. Zoellner says it. When you see these successful people, you don't just luck your way into success. It's a certain mindset you have. Now we're looking at the second destructive habit that's absolutely wreaking chaos in businesses all across the country. We're talking about a recession that might be a problem. No. These sorts of things are killing businesses.
And here we go. One is the duck and cover because I'm unavailable move. And this is the what I was telling you about a little bit where you duck and cover. You say, hey, tell them I'm not available. And so it's a deal where you never really deal with the customer who's complaining. So if I'm watching this right now, and I've been a duck and cover move kind of person, what advice would you give to me on the other side of this camera. And I'm a duck and cover person. I'm saying, boss hey, somebody complained. I'm not available forever and I'm going to leave. I'm going to leave. And so my front-line people are dealing with the complaints, but the owner-- there's no one there to accept the blame. And to own it.
-Well I'd reach out again (SLAPPING SOUND) and say stop it. I mean you've got to address it. It is your opportunity to shine. It's your chance you can show your employees how to take a difficult situation and turn it around. It's your time to be a leader and leaders don't duck and cover. I mean, the leader is the one out there front-line charging. You've got to show everybody how to deal with the situation. Because they're watching.
You know so it's not so much even for your business, for your employees and even for yourself, you have to address it. And just putting it off sometimes just makes it worse. Now all of the sudden they call some local news station. Now all of the sudden they're online with a blog and they've got 100 million followers following your inability to deal with the issue. Trust me, if they're motivated, you're going to deal with it sooner or later. And the longer you wait, just the more difficult it's going to be.
-I want to give you an illustration of an unnamed airline that I am very familiar with. I was flying into New York and I saw a bunch of military men who didn't have their bags. These guys looked like they've been sleeping at the airport for two days. That's the only reason I knew there was something wrong. Because they're sitting there looking like they've been sleeping in their fatigues for two days at the airport. And I was like, guys, what's going on? And they said, some jackass lost our luggage. Really?
So I went into the customer service, they lost my luggage, too. So I go to the customer service area to talk to the person at this unnamed airline. And she says, sir nothing I can do about it. And will not make eye contact. Nothing I can do about it. And I said, well what about for these military guys? These guys had just came back from the Middle East. With their stuff it's gone. She's like, well I told them, there's nothing I can do about it. And just that attitude. The way they said it. Even if there was nothing she could do about it. And then the manager wasn't available and it was just this escalation and I noticed that people were getting so frustrated for them.
But if they would've just said, you know what guys? We are so sorry about the situation. Tell us what happened. Listen. If they would have believe them or listened, answered and said, hey we let's give you free tickets to here. Or let's try to get you a hotel room. Or anything. But just being unavailable and not answering and not caring.
- And no eye contact. That'll make you crazy.
-I did things that I'm not going to talk about on this camera.
-To try to get eye contact.
-Yeah. I was getting a little crazy. My wife will tell you that story. So moving onto the third destructive habit. This is the final one of this triumvirate of things not to do, but we see it all over in business today. The, I'm smarter than all the customers, so I don't care what anybody thinks. So I see this a lot at big box stores. There's a lot of big box stores that do it right, too.
But I'll give you an example. One of the big box stores I can think of, I go in there, I'm asking for a certain computer part. The guy just says, it's over there. OK I went over there. I've looked over there. I need someone to go over there with me, because, I said, I might just be ignorant, I might have missed it, but could you help me? It's over there. Just that whole the attitude. So what would you say to someone right now who's watching this who thinks they are sincerely smarter than every customer they've ever had and they are just not available to understand the customer's mindset.
-Well first of all, it's very destructive. And it's very demeaning. And nobody likes to be treated like that. And if you're a person-- if you own a business and some of your employees are doing that, you need to swoop down on them and give them an earful. That's one of those things why you have the mystery shoppers. That's one of the things you have-- you're always testing your employees on how they're dealing with people. But for someone to sit there and have that mindset of I'm smarter than all these people, and therefore they should be glad that I allow them in my place of business to do business with me. To give me their money so I can give them a little something of what they want.
I tell you what. It's hard to build a business that way. We've all been in that situation. We've all been in a business that treats you that way. And how many times do you go back it? There's choices. The nice thing about that is that if you're not getting what you want over here they way you want it, you'll go somewhere else. And that's the way life is. And so if your business isn't growing, if you're not getting the results that you think you should be getting, if you're getting a lot of foot traffic and not a lot of sales, this could be the very reason why that's happening. I mean, that is a bad employee.
And unless you can get them fixed, you need to replace them quickly. You need to let them know, first of all, what's expected of them and how to treat that with this idea that if you at all think that you're smarter than your customers. You may say, listen I think it but, I'm not going to say that. But if you're thinking it in your actions and your body language even suggest that. So get that out of your mind. Try to erase that if you can. And say to yourself, I really want to be a servant. I really want to serve the people that are walking in there. And if you do it, your employees see you do it. And if you're doing it as a team, people will feel that and they'll say, hey listen, I want to go someplace where I'm being served.
-Now we're going into the action items here. The things that everyone can do who is watching this. And Jim Rohn, he's a cell bestselling success author who I just love. Because every time I read his material, it was almost poetic in the way he writes, but he also gets down to that brass tacks. And he says this, he says, discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. And I remember when I had read that, I knew that I needed to start doing these things. I'd been told from a few mentors, I'm about three or four years into business. They're saying, look you're quick witted, you have a little bit of an axe to grind with the world, you grew up without a lot of money. I get it, that's your story, get off it.
But now when people are upset, you don't need to see who can get the last word, or who can say the little gotcha quote. You need to start listing to the customers. If I am watching this, and I have been struggling with that discipline. Just the discipline. Because you have to be kind of crazy to start a business. I mean, you really do. To start one, you have to be a little crazy. You have to be a little bit intense. A lot of entrepreneurs, we tend to be non permit-pulling kind of people. We just do things.
How did you specifically in your career get yourself to the point-- because I know at first you had to want to tell off customers. And you might have even done it. Did you ever tell a customer off, not even one time? I'm trying to think back.
-I'm sure I did. But you learn from it pretty quickly that's it's a very unproductive way to go about the day. And it leaves just this horrible, bitter feel in you that you just-- It's crazy. I mean, you see 100 patients a day and 99 of them are awesome. And you had that one bad one and you go home and you don't sleep because of the one bad one. And that's the way life is. You have that one negative experience and, if you're not careful, it can ruin your day.
Send us your email address, and our team of elite minds will get right on it.