Improve Customer Loyalty By Combating Negativity With Compassion

We meet people face-to-face, at counters, in meetings, in writing and over the phone. Often our moments of contact are brief, fragmented, and mere snapshots in the longer movie of their lives.

We form impressions based upon these moments, and act upon those feelings. But we may never know what’s really going on.

The next time you encounter someone who triggers a negative reaction by their tone of voice, body posture, odd request or persistent misunderstanding, take a moment to pause and consider. In doing so, you just might improve customer service loyalty.

This other person may have health or financial difficulties you will never know about. This other person may be in the middle of a crisis or some unanticipated trouble. This other person has a life that is not revealed by your short moment together. This other person may be a lot like you. When you pause to consider and move forward with kind behavior, your actions may improve customer loyalty while providing someone in need with a gesture of kindness.

Given that I may never know “what’s really going on” with those who trigger my negative emotions, I’ve adopted two principles that serve me (and them) very well and also help to improve customer loyalty:

1. Practice generosity to improve customer loyalty

For the upset customer, I give something more than they expected. For frustrated staff, I offer an extra pat on the back. For the disgruntled vendor or supplier, I give them the benefit of the doubt. All of these actions work to improve customer loyalty.

2. Exercise compassion to improve customer loyalty

To the angry customer I say gently, “You must be having a tough day.” To the befuddled sales clerk I offer, “Thanks for your help. I know this can be confusing.” To the forever unsatisfied I state, “It’s OK. You deserve to get what you really want.”

Note that my principles are to practice generosity and exercise compassion. This isn’t always easy. It takes effort, a bit like doing sit-ups. But it does get easier over time, and makes me feel better, too. These are the right things to do and they can improve customer loyalty.

Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Loyalty

You improve customer loyalty when people see you are on their side, not against them. The next time you experience a negative reaction to another person’s words, actions or behavior, do some mental sit-ups before you reply. Then practice generosity and exercise compassion.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Loyalty

Discuss this with your colleagues, friends and family members. Find out what kind of person bothers, irritates or gets you hopping mad. Then brainstorm what might be happening or hurting in someone else’s life that has them acting up or behaving towards you that way. Act in kindness and you might brighten their day and improve customer loyalty in the process.

If you were in that painful position, what generous gesture or compassionate kindness might you appreciate most? What nice things could someone say that would help you out? What kind actions could someone do that would ease or heal your pain?

The next time someone upset or angry appears in your life, take the initiative to do something right: practice generosity, exercise compassion – improve customer loyalty.

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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “UP! Your Service” books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpYourService.com.

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