3 Tips for Responding to a Failed Customer Experience This Summer

Customer Experience


Replace Your Disapproving Criticism with Sincere Concern

It can be extremely tempting and convenient to use social media to rant about the naughty salesperson. In fact, some of us at this point might already have our Facebook or Twitter page open, and our fingers are walking before we even exit the store. Are you willing to take the road less traveled? Giving the gift of “nice” isn’t always easy, but it often comes with a high payoff. Here are a few ideas:

  • Directly ask the salesperson if there is something wrong that is causing them to behave in a certain way. Your tone should be sincere. Try it! You might be shocked by their response, and they will be shocked by your concern—or scared.
  • Reach for something nice to say about the salesperson—dig deep if you must. You might thank them for greeting you so quickly—even if they didn’t. Then proceed to acknowledge how busy they must be and empathize with them. Again, they will get the hint.
  • If you just can’t contain yourself and feel the need to call their corporate office, give them some grace. Withhold their name and simply share your concern with a calm tone and kind words. You might even consider giving them some general suggestions. Isn’t this what we as property management professionals desire from our customers?

If your true goal is that they improve, show sincere concern. If your goal is to get them fired, that is an entirely different discussion.


Keep Their Feelings in Mind

I know we all have this ‘it’s all about the customer’ mentality when it comes to sales and service. However, sometimes customers are not very nice to salespeople. I know this probably comes as a shock to you because you would never be nasty to a salesperson. Sadly, when you mix a nasty customer with a naughty salesperson, the experience can head south very quickly for both parties. If you know someone who might fall into the “nasty customer” category, here are two thoughts you might share with them during your next visit:

  • You’ve probably heard the saying, “you can get a lot further with sugar than with salt”. Well the truth of the matter is you can, and will. Just because you’re angry at the service you are receiving or lack thereof, doesn’t give you the right to go off on anybody. We need to learn to control ourselves at all times even when we are face-to-face with a naughty salesperson. Instead of rolling your eyes at the person when they turn around, try smiling. Let them carry the negative energy—not you. Start using sugar because salt gives you high blood pressure, literally.
  • I know it sounds cliché, but you never really know what someone is going through. Start asking yourself “What if…” as you stand there weighted down by the naughty salesperson and overall negative experience.
    • What if she just lost a loved one?
    • What if he just found out his car is being repossessed today?
    • What if her boyfriend dumped her last night?
    • What if she is depending on this commission check to buy birthday presents for her children?
    • What if… [fill in the blank]?

When you keep the feelings of others in mind, eventually yours begin to soften up, too.

If all else fails and you simply cannot control your emotions, here are two statements you should avoid making at all costs…

  1. “I’m going to make sure you lose your job.” First of all, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to get someone fired. You have been on the receiving end of this type of call. Second, you are much better off with the salesperson as your friend rather than your enemy. They will eventually find out who you are. You are going to get significantly better results if you acknowledge the difficult position they are in and compliment them in some way.
  2. “I’m never going to step in this store again.” One big reason companies place so much focus on the customer experience is to retain loyal customers. Therefore, if you tell them that you are no longer going to shop in their store, you’ve taken away their No. 1 reason to be nice to you. Ouch!

Remember, that the summer rush might be a favorite season for retailers but it is not necessarily for their employees. When your salesperson turns naughty, take charge of your customer experience. Give the gift of nice this summer!

(Image Source: Shutterstock)


President and Owner, Ellis Partners in Mystery Shopping

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Joanna Ellis is CEO and Owner of Ellis Partners in Management Solutions (EPMS) and Co-owner of Renter’s Voice. Under her direction, Ellis has established itself as the premier apartment mystery shopping company in the nation, as well as a respected provider of multi-touch point resident surveys, as part of their retention-focused customer experience program. Current clients include most major apartment developers, management companies, and REITs. Through Renter’s Voice, Ellis helps clients promote and respond to authentic and objective apartment reviews. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Texas A&M, Ms. Ellis has spent more than 25 years in the multifamily industry, and she now holds both the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Property Supervisor (CAPS). She is also a licensed Texas Real Estate Agent. In honor of EPMS’ reputation for integrity, the Dallas Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals awarded Joanna, on behalf of the company, the 2008 Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award for mid-size companies.

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