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
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
- Wait quietly and listen to hear the whole story
- Affirm and empathize (Apologize for the inconvenience
or the error, if at fault.)
- Solve the problem quickly by moving to a solution
(Thank the customer for the opportunity to remedy the problem.)
- Pre-plan to avoid similar problems
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
- 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.
- 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
- Wait and listen to the whole story without interruption.
After looking at the result, you see the ink has bled and
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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. www.mardimilligan.com firstname.lastname@example.org 406-542-9258
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