Designers Advised on Blunting Anger of Clients When Mistakes Occur

by WOHe

Designers Advised on Blunting Anger of Clients When
Mistakes Occur

How often have you heard the phrase, “It’s nothing
personal?”

However, when dealing with the kitchen and bathroom two critical
parts of a client’s home even minor problems are often taken quite
personally. It’s easy, for example, for the slightest mistake on
the part of a designer, dealer, cabinet shop or installer to
generate anger, insults, shouting, threats and more. 

Naturally, since kitchen and bath specialists rely on clients
for referrals, it’s best to stay on a friendly basis. What follows
are some handy tips to help defuse client anger and solve
client-related problems successfully:

  • Do not meet anger with anger. Anger only builds when it’s met
    with anger. It dissipates when it has nothing to smash against.
    Remember, it’s only business. Your aggrieved clients are angry
    because it’s personal to them. They’ll no doubt want to express
    that anger. Let them vent. The sooner you can get them to think
    about it rationally, and not emotionally, the quicker you’ll arrive
    at a solution.
  • Agree with the client on any point, no matter how trivial. Even
    if it’s to say, “I understand how you feel Mrs. Witherbottom. I’d
    feel the same way if I thought such a thing had happened in my
    kitchen,” agreement defuses the anger. Part of the emotional weight
    of the moment is the client’s need to show that his or her reaction
    is justified. Agreement on your point provides this justification
    and can do a lot to calm the situation and turn it to a rational
    conclusion.
  • Write down the problem. Tell your angry client, “Let me get
    this in writing,” and write down what the person has to say. This
    demonstrates to the angry client that you’re taking the problem
    very seriously. Second, it slows down the situation considerably.
    Your client will calm down and speak slower, to be sure that you
    are writing things down correctly. Ever try to be angry slower? It
    can’t be done.
     
    A third benefit to writing down the problem is that it forces
    clients to reassess the problem more logically. Instead of just
    complaining vaguely about the cabinet finish, or the appliances, or
    the installation job, they’ll want to tell you specifically what
    they don’t like. In doing so, the problem will usually become
    clearer, and a solution will present itself.
  • Recap the problem aloud and make sure there are no hidden
    problems. This demonstrates that you’ve understood fully what the
    problem is and are acting in good faith. You’re not trying to
    minimize or dismiss your client’s concerns. This also avoids
    misunderstandings later. 
  • Take responsibility. This is especially important for your
    employees. Nothing is more infuriating than telling someone about a
    problem and having them reply “That’s not my job,” or “You’ll have
    to talk to the boss.” Encourage employees to take responsibility
    and empower them to solve simple problems on site. Even if they
    cannot answer the question or make the adjustment, they must say
    something like “I will personally make sure this gets done,” or the
    client’s anger will build up again.
  • Negotiate a solution. Don’t just dictate what you will or won’t
    do. Say frankly, “What do you think would be a fair solution to the
    problem?” Stay focused on specific aspects of the client’s problem,
    and never lose sight of common ground. You both have as your goal a
    room that your client will be happy with, and you need to make it
    clear you’re making a good-faith effort to get there together.

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