Customer Service Training TIps

When Cheerfulness Backfires

“It will be $30 including taxes and we can have it fixed for you this afternoon.” That was the response “Steve” gave me when I phoned a local tire store last week to ask about repairing a slow leak in my left-rear tire. Sounded great. Later in the afternoon Steve phones me as promised – presumably to tell me my vehicle’s ready. He sounds upbeat as he explains, “The nail created a rip in your tire’s sidewall that can’t be repaired (ha ha ha). Looks like we’ll have to replace the tire (ha ha).” I’m wondering what’s so funny and ask the price. “Well, (ha ha) $378.” I’m not happy, but I ask him to go ahead and replace it. Then the kicker. this is a special tire they have to order from the warehouse so it won’t be ready until tomorrow (again: ha ha ha).

The nail wasn’t Steve’s fault, but what added insult to injury was he seemed to be making light of my unexpected misfortune. One of the tips I share in training sessions where we talk about how to break bad news, is tone it down. Literally. Lowering your voice slightly conveys concern and compassion. It reflects maturity and helps the customer feel better about dealing with you; especially when the news isn’t good. When it comes to customer service, there are times when cheerfulness is over-rated.


Today’s chuckle:

Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most


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Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker, and best-selling author. To inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit


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