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Never Argue With The Customer

In this transcript, Clay Clark (Founder of Thrive15.com) talks with Lee Cockerell (man who managed 43,000 employees at Walt Disney World Resort) about arguing with customers and customer service training on Thrive15.com!

Clay:    You wrote about being reliable. What does that mean to be reliable? I think a lot of people have excuses that we think are valid. I overslept. I have a head cold. I'm tired.

Lee:    Then you're not reliable. Reliability, credibility, setting an example, keeping your promises, how important is that like?

Clay:    We're getting into some specifics here. Here we go. You have a grand opening of a hotel at the Disney. Because this has happened a lot. You opened up a new property, a new something and you're supposed to be there and you don't feel well.

Lee:    You're there.

Clay:    You're there? You have sprained your ankle ...

Lee:    If you're not at the hospital, you need to be there. 

Clay:    You sprained your ankle, you can still kind of limp to work, grand opening, are you there?

Lee:    Yeah, absolutely. Priscilla gets very annoyed at me for doing things like that. It's like me driving a thousand miles overnight. She wasn't very happy about that but I was there and that's two reasons. She knows the reasons. First, I'm very compulsive. First, I have this huge sense of fear of failure. I don't want somebody criticize me I didn't show up. I just ...

Clay:    Do it?

Lee:    Do what you got to do.

Clay:    You say, "Never ever argue with the customer."

Lee:    There's no upside to arguing with the customer and a lot of your customers are going to be really bad people.

Clay:    But they're really wrong?

Lee:    Nasty.

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Clay:    They're really wrong. They are crazy wrong?

Lee:    Still, but don't raise your voice. Just keep it low key, calm, try to bring them back around. Keep trying to bring them around because again, when this is happening, 99% of the time what they're yelling about is not the situation you're right there faced with. They're upset and yelling and screaming because they got 10 other problems in their life that's driven them. This one little thing set them off. Their mother's sick, their wife's leaving them, they've foreclosure on their house. All these other things in people's lives is what makes people overreact and we told our people at Disney, "Don't get defensive. Don't try to win the argument with the customer because if we win, we're going to lose them. We won't see them again. Just bring them around. Our goal is to bring them around. Keep them as a customer if we can and continue to have them come here and spend money. Professionals stay, cool, calm and collected." 

Clay:    The CEO ...

Lee:    Stay cool, calm and collected.

Clay:    The CEO of Young Brands, he wrote a system he came up with called BLAST which is Believe, Listen, Answer, Satisfy, Trust. If somebody's freaking out you, if a customer's upset, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Lee:    He told me that way back. He said, "Lee, anytime you're in doubt, go in favor of the guest." He said, "Lee, anytime you're in doubt, go in favor of the cast member, the associate because if you're not sure, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Clay:    Next ...

Lee:    I'm sure you can go which ever way you want but ...


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