MAGIC® Saves the Day (and an influential customer)

The following is a true story about handling an extremely challenging call. The company representative asked that we not reveal their name.

There are times when the skills of even the most experienced customer service professionals are challenged by the behavior of an irate customer. That happened to Laura, an executive liaison in the Customer Relationship Center of a world-renowned luxury vehicle manufacturer. Her job includes handling calls and letters from customers who demand to speak with the president of the company.

On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend this year, Laura fielded a call from a customer who was experiencing difficulty with his vehicle and was so upset that he said he would end his lease and never buy a car from this company again. The customer is a Midwest radio personality, and he angrily threatened to air his complaint and speak negatively about the company to his million-listener audience to sway their feelings as well.

Laura had attended Mastering MAGIC in Difficult Situations just a few days before the incident. She incorporated the skills covered in this program and experienced an amazing turnaround. After speaking with Laura, the customer traded in his vehicle for a brand new car-a $90,000 sports car-from the same company!

Following is a transcript of a voice mail message that Laura sent to Communico the following Tuesday. By using her MAGIC skills, Laura was able to restore the relationship with the customer and resolve the issue quickly.

  • "Hi Jerry (MAGIC Program Facilitator), it's Laura over at (luxury vehicle manufacturer). I'm actually calling you with good news.
  • "I have a customer who called me on Friday … he was so, so, so very upset; I mean to the point where I had to pull the phone away from my ear. Well let me tell you-I worked the MAGIC on him!
  • "And, I'm sitting here looking at a beautiful bouquet of flowers that he sent to me and the customer actually went out and purchased a ($90,000 sports car from our company), and so he says it's a result of my conversation with him! I've got to give you all the details. It was really an incredible turnaround. I couldn't have done it without you and MAGIC and wanted to thank you and tell you the good news.
  • "The customer actually turned in his car and bought a new one and he sent me some flowers. And this was an irate-probably the most irate-person I've ever spoken with. And I completely turned him around using MAGIC, and he's now my best friend … and he sent me flowers to thank me for being so nice to him … but I have to thank YOU.
  • "Again it's Laura, and my number is .... THANK YOU! WE WORKED OUR MAGIC! Have a great day!"

MAGIC can help handle even the most difficult and challenging situations. Often, when a customer's behavior begins as irate, loud, abusive, demeaning or rude, it is a clear indication that their emotions have taken over the interaction. Remember, this is the same customer who at another time was happy with purchasing your product or service. Problems will not be solved effectively until the customer shifts from an emotional or domineering state to a rational state.

Many times, a representative may feel attacked or demeaned by the customer. When this happens, the interaction can quickly lead to emotions on both sides, making the interaction ineffective. To handle these kinds of situations effectively, a representative first listens with 'stillness' to the customer to let some of the emotion vent. Then the representative responds with empathy to let the customer know that they are being heard. This is followed by a statement of assurance to the customer that the representative is willing to help and finally the representative asks permission to gain more information from the customer.

These simple steps help shift the customer from an emotional state to a rational state where problem solving can begin. The "MAGIC of Customer Relations" and "Mastering MAGIC in Difficult Situations" programs provide these skills in an interactive and lively way. Participants get to practice these skills in a simulated setting where they get immediate feedback regarding their customer handling skills. After experiencing these programs, representatives are able to handle calls as effectively as Laura did on that Friday before Memorial Day.
Before and After
Before and After
Just one "tragic" contact can influence your customers' perception of your company (and their buying decisions). Listen to the difference MAGIC® can make.