Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Make 'Nasties' Nice

 Q.  Seriously, I think I may hurt someone if nothing changes. I work in the complaint department of a large retail store. It's the only job I could find but I don't think I'll survive much longer. People are so awful!!!
Ans. True. Some people are really awful. But some others are really nice. So how do you deal with the "awfuls?"  Ron Kaufman, author of Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet has some suggestions. To begin, thank them for their complaint. Give positive recognition by saying, right off the bat, "Thank you for reaching out." Don't be defensive. It's easy to get defensive with an angry customer. Customers with complaints exaggerate situations, they get confused, and yes, they may even lie about how things went down. It's tempting to just blow off the customer. You want to say, "No! That's not what happened. You're wrong!" But getting defensive will lead only to more problems. Last, acknowledge what's important to them. Kaufman teaches that service providers must find a complaining customer's value dimension (or what's important to them). Even if you think the customer's complaint is unfair, there is something they value that your company didn't deliver on. Embrace that value and using these techniques, some of the "awfuls" will probably turn "nice."

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