Mardi Milligan, MBA • Trainer / Facilitator • Speaker • Singer / Songwriter
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Tip of the Month


Taking the Sting Out of Unhappy Customers by Using the WASP Solution

© Mardi Milligan, MBA

You have a red-faced customer leaning over the counter jabbing their finger in your face.  What do you do?

If you have ever been stung by a wasp, you will remember that the bite smarted, but the throbbing pain that persisted, surfaced long after the incident.  And, the damage extended far beyond the pain of the stinger.  You wanted to strike back at the source responsible for your suffering.

An angry customer, who believes they were wrongly mistreated will react much like someone who has been stung by a wasp.  Regardless of who is at fault, if you don’t instantly remedy the source of their pain, you can count on it multiplying and coming back to sting your business many times over.

Use the W-A-S-P Solution to remove the stinger from angry customers:

  1. Wait quietly and listen to hear the whole story without interruption
  2. Affirm and empathize (Apologize for the inconvenience or the error, if at fault.)
  3. Solve the problem quickly by moving to a solution (Thank the customer for the opportunity to remedy the problem.)
  4. Pre-plan to avoid similar problems

Case Scenerio

Mrs. Smith orders envelopes, stationary and business cards for her new business from a local print shop.  While making copies onto her new stationary using the printer in her office, she notices the print is not crisp and clean.  The ink is blotchy and has bled on all the pages of her new stationary. 

When Mrs. Smith questions the print shop owner, he informs her that the grade of paper she chose to have her stationary printed on is at fault.  He bears no responsibility and recommends that she request her next stationary order be printed on a higher quality paper.

The Stinging Negative Result

  1. Mrs. Smith is angry because the printed letters for her new business look unprofessional.  She claims the print shop owner should have recommended a higher quality paper when she placed her stationary order.
  2. Because the print shop did not attempt to satisfy the customer, Mrs. Smith repeats the negative story to her friends, and they, in turn, repeat it to their friends.

Customer Satisfaction by Using the W-A-S-P Solution   

  1. Wait and listen to the whole story without interruption.  After looking at the result, you see the ink has bled and is blotchy.
  2. Affirm you hear the customer is unhappy, empathize and call them by name.  “Mrs. Smith, I can see why you are unhappy. This stationary is incompatible with your printer.”
  3. Solve the problem quickly by moving to a solution. Perhaps we can come to a win/win agreement—“Would you be willing to pay for a higher price paper if we reprinted it for free”? or even “We’d be happy to reprint the stationary to compensate for your inconvenience.”  
  4. Pre-plan to avoid similar problems.  Find out what type of printer the customer uses and upgrade them to a higher quality of paper.

Every business encounters angry customers.  Successful businesses quickly remedy their customer’s pain, regardless of fault, and concentrate on satisfying their customers so they will keep coming back.

Mardi Milligan/MBA/Speaker/Trainer with Fine Tuning Solutions saves organizations time and headaches by offering tune ups and business solutions to "Get ALL your employees all on the SAME page."  © Mardi Milligan of Idram Publishing Co., LLC PO Box 17137, Missoula, MT  59808 *Used by Permission.     406-542-9258

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