Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Customer service’

One Tip on How to Get Your Motivation Message Across

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You probably spend a great deal of your time communicating with other people.

It could be your customers, your colleagues, your boss, and the people in your personal life.businesswoman leading presentation while audience cheers.

So the tip is – use your feelings to get your message across to other people.

Are you listening to me?

Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It doesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be:

  • Tired,
  • In a hurry,
  • Confused,
  • Physically uncomfortable,
  • Don’t understand your jargon
  • Maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your motivation message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

It’s all about the body

The problem is that the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This

This tells us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% tone and a whacking great 55% body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have a much greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however:

I am totally convinced that, to get your message across, how you look, and how you sound, are far more important than what you say.

It was so exciting – not

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling and presentation skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of  motivation, energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it.

The good thing was, that once he’d realised it, he could do something about it.

Don’t be shy

On occasion, people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality, but do make a slight change to your behaviour.

Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children, or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up – or, at least, get a little bit warmer.

Honey baby

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it.

His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

He was buzzing (sorry, couldn’t resist that)

Here’s a little exercise for you

Say the following sentence out loud (okay wait till there’s no one around) There are 7 words; so say the sentence 7 times emphasising a different word in turn.

‘I didn’t say you stole my pen!’

Would you believe there are 7 meanings to this sentence depending on which word you emphasise.

Make it happen

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers, colleagues, or your family, then show more of how you feel.

And you do that through your tone of voice and your body language.

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5 Action Ideas to Motivate Difficult People

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When was the last time you had to deal with a difficult person.

It was probably an external customer or client, but Businessman Surprisedperhaps it was an internal customer, such as a one of your staff, a colleague or even – your boss!

In business, we usually strive to provide extraordinary service to both our internal and external customers. However, in the real world, things go wrong and mistakes are made.

These “customers” will often judge your level of service based on how you respond to a mistake. Do it well and they’ll probably forgive you, and possibly even say positive things about your business, or your abilities, to other people.

The important thing to realise when dealing with an upset person, is that you must –

Deal with their feelings, then deal with their problem.

Upset customers are liable to have strong feelings when you, your product or service lets them down, and they’ll probably want to dump these feeling on you.

You don’t deal with their feelings by concentrating on solving the problem, it takes more.

Here are 5 action ideas that deal with the customers’ human needs:

1 – Don’t let them get to you

Stay out of it emotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

2 – Listen – listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. The other person wants to know that you care and that you’re interested in their problem.

3 – Stop saying sorry

Sorry is an overused word, everyone says it when something goes wrong and it’s lost its value.

How often have you heard – ‘Sorry ’bout that, give me the details and I’ll sort this out for you.’

Far better to say – ‘I apologise for ……’

And if you really need to use the sorry word, make sure to include it as part of a full sentence. ‘I’m sorry you haven’t received that information as promised Mr Smith.’ It’s also good practise to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

It’s also good practice to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

4 – Empathise

Using empathy is an effective way to deal with the person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what they is saying and feeling.

Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’

Obviously this has to be a genuine response, the other person will realise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

Examples of empathy responses would be – ‘I can understand that you’re angry,’ or ‘I see what you mean.’

Again, these responses need to be genuine.

5 – Build rapport

Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathy response, including yourself in the picture – ‘I can understand how you feel, I don’t like it either when I’m kept waiting.’ This has the effect of getting on the other person’s side and builds rapport.

Some customer service people get concerned with this response as they believe it’ll lead to – ‘Why don’t you do something about it then.’

The majority of people won’t respond this way if they realise that you’re a reasonable and caring person.

If they do, then continue empathising and tell the person what you’ll do about the situation. ‘I’ll report this to my manager’ or ‘I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.’

Make no mistake about it; people, be they customers, staff or your boss, are primarily driven by their emotions. It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

If people like you and feel that you care, then they’re more likely to accept what you say and forgive your mistakes.

Comment below or send me and email and give me your thoughts –

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7 Simple Steps to a Self-Motivating Team

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‘How do I motivate my staff?’ That’s the question I’m most often asked by business owners and managers. They want some instant fix, a silver bullet that improves staff motivation overnight. But as we all know, life isn’t like winners 1

I’ve been there

I understand why this question is being asked, I was a manager for fifteen years, and I appreciate the challenges managers face every day with their people. The answer I give is – ‘You don’t motivate your team, you create the environment where they motivate themselves!’

Generate momentum

Effective motivation is intrinsic, it has to come from within. There’s no instant fix; it’s an ongoing day to day process of small actions that build a highly motivated team.

It’s like pushing a heavy boulder, you need some initial effort to get the process going, but once you’ve done that, it takes a lot less effort to keep it moving.

7 Steps to success

  1. Spend some quality time with each of your team.

Talk with them and find out how they’re doing on a personal level, and a business level. Give them feedback; tell them when they do something well, and tell them when not so well. Use descriptive statements, not generalisations such as ‘well done!’

  1. Listen to what they have to say, and show that you’re listening.

Turn away from the computer, and switch off the phone. Keep good eye contact, use open body language, and make noises that indicate that you’re listening. Empathise with their personal problems and provide solutions to business problems, wherever possible.

  1. Coach them on the job, to do even better.

Remember that coaching is a two-way process with your team member; helping them to find solutions to job-related or personal problems

  1. Find ways to make their job more interesting.

Vary the jobs they do, give them some of your tasks, and give them more responsibility. Ask them to train or mentor another member of the team.

  1. Show that you appreciate them, and have some fun.

Give the occasional reward for no particular reason. Some time off work, a personal thank you letter, cakes or sweets, flowers on a birthday or a bottle of wine. Suggest a team member takes their partner out for a meal and charge it to expenses.

  1. Keep them informed.

Let them know what’s happening in the company, and how the business is doing. And provide relevant information on new products or services. Give them the feeling that what they do contributes to the success of the organisation.

  1. Trust and believe in them.

Show them what you need them to do, and let them get on with it. Take risks; don’t keep supervising. Set up parameters that allow them to make decisions. If they keep coming to you with questions, don’t provide an answer; ask them what they would do and support their response.

Dare to care

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Your team members want to know that you care about them, that you’re interested in them from a personal, and business point of view. They want to believe that you trust them, and want them to succeed.

If you can create that environment; then you’ll have a happy and motivated team that make a positive contribution to your business?

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Why Soft Skills Are Not Soft

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I must be honest, I hate the expression “soft skills”. I know that it’s used to differentiate from hard skills, such as the 20130628-1652591technical ability to do a particular job.

So what exactly are soft skills?

Do they include the skill to answer the phone in a warm and friendly manner?

Or perhaps deal with a difficult customer, empathise, and help them to get what they want.

Maybe even sell the customer a product or service.

Perhaps for managers, they include the ability to listen to their employees, and to empathise with their situation.

And to give feedback that reinforces good behaviour, or changes not so good behaviour

Don’t be a softy

Well, in my book, there is nothing soft about these skills.

These are the skills that will decide if a customer buys from you, or one of your competitors.

These are the skills that will ensure the customer comes back to your business, and perhaps recommends your product or service to other people.

These are the skills that may ensure your customer pays your higher price, and pays you on time.

Hard skills can get the job done. Soft skills make the difference between a job that gets done, and a job that gets done exceedingly well.

So-called soft skills are all about motivated and engaged employees, more customers, more sales, and more profits.

Soft skills get the sales and make the profits.

Maybe not so soft – eh!

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Motivational Management Masterclass for Hospitality Managers

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How To Manage Difficult People Audio Summation

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New Seminar – How to Manage Difficult People

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How Do You React to Annoying Behavior?

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Recently, when I was at my home in the Philippines, I awoke one morning to find one of the dogs sleeping on the sofa. All curled up, nice and comfy having nice doggy dreams. (She’s the one on the left in the photo of Motivation 247792_3957018401534_256628686_n (640x480) (440x330)Doc jogging club.)

So whispered in her ear – ‘Please wake up and get off the sofa CAS.’

And if you believe that, you’re as daft as me!

However, when placed in a situation of annoyance, shall we say; do you:

  1. Think or do you react?
  2. Allow other people (or dogs) to decide your behavior?

You probably answered ‘Think’ and ‘No’ to these questions, but do you ever catch yourself saying:

‘She makes me really mad!’

‘His behavior really annoys me!’

‘How dare she speak to me like that!’

‘If he thinks I’m just going to do what he wants!’

Is it possible, that in making any of these statements, that:

1, you’re reacting and 2, allowing other people to decide your behavior?

Does the other person make you mad, or do you decide to get mad?

Do you react to what a customer, or a colleague or your boss, does or says to you, or do you think before you take action?

You’re the boss

Before you achieve anything in your life, you need to take charge of your thinking. When you take charge of your thinking, you take charge of your life.

Thinking is all about communicating with yourself; it’s all the little things you say to yourself while you’re awake.

(Just don’t say them out loud or the men with the white coats will take you away!)

That’s a lot of thinking

I read somewhere that the average human has 12,367 thoughts every day. Now, don’t ask me how they worked that one out, but let’s just accept that we do a lot of thinking and communicating with ourselves. The thing is that, 70 percent of these thoughts or internal communications are negative and encourage negative behaviour.

How you think, your relationship with yourself is what decides how well you communicate with your customers, your colleagues, your team members, your boss, and the dog.

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself, so you’ve got to get that right.

Henry Ford said, (he was the guy who started all the traffic chaos) – ‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, that’s why so few people do it.’

Always on time

I’ve always had a thing about good timekeeping; it’s something that’s been programmed into my brain. If you agree to meet me at 8.30 in the morning, I‘ll be there at 8.20; I will always do my utmost be on time.

So I used to get annoyed when a member of my team would show up late for a meeting or an appointment with me.

When I got annoyed I’d get stressed, I would react, and end up saying something that I regretted later. So I learned to start thinking about the situation and try to see it from their point of view. I decided not to react or let my programming run my brain.

That doesn’t mean to say I ignored the lateness or did nothing about it; I thought very carefully about what I wanted to say, and spoke to the team member about how we would resolve this situation.

Don’t get stressed

The point is this – I’m not prepared to allow that team member’s behavior to run my mind.

Getting annoyed and stressed is not good for your health and it isn’t a productive way to motivate your staff, deal with your customers or handle your mother-in-law.

You have to decide who runs your mind; is it you or is it someone else?

So – think about that!



How to Avoid Alienating Customers

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I know this may come out as a bit of a whinge. However, it really saddens me to see organisations who talk a good game about customer service, and then make a real hash of it.

The story

Two weeks ago I ordered a sewing machine from a company called Lazada.sewing machine

According to their website – Lazada is Southeast Asia’s number one online shopping and selling destination.

Of course they are number one, because Amazon have no presence there. I suspect that is because there is no delivery or postal system that would meet the Amazon standard.

I ordered the machine for my partner in the Philippines, paid for it by credit card, and was given a delivery date.

However, a few days later, Lazada sent me an email cancelling my order because they had made a mistake with the price. I reckon the price difference was about £5 to £6.

I paid £140 for the machine, plus a transaction charge of £4.

Lazada refunded my credit card £134.

So I’m out of pocket £10 and no machine.

Okay, so this is starting to sound like a whinge, but bear with me.

My questions to people in business are

  1. Do you want customers to come back to your company and buy more products and services?
  1. Do you want customers to talk positively about your company to other people and encourage them to buy from you?
  1. Do you want customers to accept your prices and be happy to pay them?

Or –

  1. Do you want customers to never deal with your company again?
  1. Do you want customers to tell other people never to buy from your company?
  1. Do you want customers to give you hassle about your prices and be slow to pay?

We all make mistakes

In any business, mistakes will be made from time to time, but there is always the opportunity to Recover with the customer.

In this situation, Lazada should have said – ‘We messed up; we got it wrong, but we want the customer to be happy. So we will have to take a loss (if it is a loss bearing in mind the difference is £5) on this transaction. Just as long as the customer is happy and continues to deal with us.’

Business have to run at a profit, but you need customers and more of them.

Lazada send me emails every day trying to sell me more products; I dump them all.

A positive customer service story

I ordered 50 copies of my book, How to be a Motivational Manager, from Amazon in the UK. This was to be delivered to one of my clients in the Philippines.

25 of the books were delivered, but the other 25 disappeared. (What did I say earlier about distribution and postal service in that part of the world?)

I contacted Amazon, and they immediately sent another 25 books to the Philippines at no extra cost. (The missing 25 books eventually turned up back in the UK)

Now that’s what I call Recovery!

Amazon took action immediately, they took the risk that they might lose out on this, but they just wanted to keep the customer happy. As it turned out, they didn’t lose out, other than extra delivery charges, and they made me happy!

Lazada still don’t understand that, hopefully on day they will.

Alienating customers is too costly – you can avoid that by recovering well and building a positive relationship with your customer.



3 Reasons Complaints Are Good for Business

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Don’t you just hate it if you hear complaints about your business? Well, you shouldn’t.angry businessman

Here are 3 reasons why complaints can be a positive thing for your business.

  1. They point out areas that need improvement
  2. It gives you another chance to provide good service and satisfy the customer
  3. It is a wonderful opportunity to build your relationship with your customer. If you recover well, the customer is likely to forgive you and come back again. They are also more likely to say positive things about your business to other people.

75% of customers will buy from you again if you resolve their complaints to their satisfaction.

Sadly, a typical business will hear from only 4% of its dissatisfied customers.

Make your business easy to complain to – it’s good for you!

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