I recall a time, when working on-site, that an angry resident came into my office. She had a jar of banana peppers in her hand and was snacking on a bag of Doritos. She sat down in front of me and begin to speak very loudly. Speaking loudly all the while crunching on her Doritos. At one point a chunk of chewed Doritos flew out of her mouth and landed on my arm and in one fell swoop she picked it up and put it back in her mouth. And continue to yell at me. She had crazy talent – if you ask me. All that said, I had a choice.
How do you handle the angry?
What do you do when someone yells at you because of something that went wrong on your property? There is a natural tendency to feel angry or even scared. Both are natural. It’s what you do with these feelings that matters most. And it provides a big opportunity for multifamily trainers across the country.
Customer Service with a Plan
Remember that customer service is a cornerstone to our business. Approach every single hostile situation with that in mind. Also, approach it with a plan that you craft ahead of time. Starbucks uses an approach aptly named the LATTE Method:
- Listen completely to the customer.
- Acknowledge the problem.
- Take action to resolve the problem.
- Thank the customer for bringing the situation to your attention.
- Encourage the customer to return.
It all starts with a page in a manual that is largely blank. At the top of the page are the words “When the customer is unhappy my plan is to…” Now, we won’t get into the quite fascinating underlying science to this exercise but it is very effective to have a plan in place before a situation takes place. Think of it like a disaster plan for customer service situations.
Plan for Angry
Try it now. Take out a blank piece of paper and write down the words “when the customer is unhappy my plan is…” then use the latte method to map out what you would do. Then role-play that with yourself in your car (I know you role-play in your car) on the way to work or role-play it with your fellow leasing consultants, assistant managers and property managers. Imbue it on your mind with repetition. And trust me, the next time someone spits chewed Doritos on your arm, you will know exactly what to do.
Your big believer in boosting willpower Multifamily Maniac, M