Mind Control Over Others?

The customer is always right. Right? That statement has always bothered me because half the time the customer is wrong. However—and this is a big however—we have to let them believe they are right, even when they are way wrong.

This article is about three ways to deal with difficult customers—before they become difficult. All of these ideas are based on one undeniable truth, we can’t change people (or mind control them—someday there will be an app for that).

If we can’t change others behavior, then what can we do? Try these ideas on for size to see if we can’t control their minds at least a little bit.

What we put out, we get back.


We set the tone with customers. Sure, some people are just grumpy or have “issues” that have nothing to do with us and are insurmountable. That said, the bulk of our customers come to us in a fairly good mood and are excited to be doing business with us. So what makes them turn on us? More importantly, how do we prevent it?

I know this will sound hokey, but when we smile, the world indeed smiles back at us. I’m serious, how we greet people (with a smile, using their name when we can, and a quick compliment about something they are wearing) gets us off on the right foot. It’s a personal touch which takes time, but in the end saves time when that’s one less person we have to deal with later because we’ve already won them over.

Taking the time to smile, learn their name, and compliment them shows respect. That’s (almost) all people want, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect for their business, their time, and their status (whatever that may be).

Give them a reputation to live up to.

Let’s try an experiment. I want you to try to not picture a big white Polar Bear. Ha, you can’t not, not picture a Polar Bear, right? (A few of you may have been able to steel off your mind, but the rest of us see a bear when asked not to.) The flip side of this is when we tell people they are understanding, cooperative, fun, easy going, and a joy to be around, they can’t help themselves from going there. They become the person we labeled them to be. In other words, they live up to our expectations.

I know what you’re thinking, when things go wrong, they’ll just revert to their old selves again. Not always. Isn’t it silly when we attend a concert and the rock star acknowledges our hometown and we all cheer. “Hellooooo Detroit.” That’s a set up, but it works every time. Let’s plant the seed (early) with our customers that they are the kind of people who are spontaneous (they are flexible enough to go with the flow when plans change), resourceful (they’re willing to make things work even when they’re not), and team players (we’re all in this together, so let’s stick together no matter what).

Mind Control Over Others?

The Art of Complaining

If you were a superhero, who would you be? Me, I would be Advocate Man. I would want to right wrongs done to honest, hardworking people by big companies. When I write it out like that it seems silly, but when we spend our money on products or services but don’t get what we pay for, shouldn’t we make them pay?

Recently, I had three of four flights on American Airlines canceled or delayed due to mechanical failures which forced me to spend the night in an airport and essentially lose a day of my life. It was absolutely awful. So I wanted to make sure American Airlines made it right.

I almost got everything I wanted (and felt I deserved) which was more than most people probably would have received for their time and trouble. It made me remember and realize there is an art to getting what you want when wronged. Here’s what’s worked for me.

• Ask for and know in advance what would make you feel like things were put right by you. You can let them make an offer first–it may be better than what you would have wanted, but if it’s not, be ready to tell them what you will require to “let it go”.

• They don’t care about you and your feelings, it’s just business, so focus on facts and figures and (try to) leave emotions out of it.

• Create a paper trail and save any and all receipts. It’s also important to take detailed notes and save all correspondence.

• The only leverage you have is your loyalty and access to social media (they do not want you to write a bad review) so use what you have going for you to get them to do the right thing.

• They say, “It’s who you know” and when it comes to complaints, it’s important you get to the person in a position (and power) to make concessions.

• Don’t give up or give in too easily or two early. Fight for what’s right.

MEET A REAL LIFE HERO (AND CONSUMER ADVOCATE) http://www.clarkhoward.com

The Art of Complaining