Ever have someone angry with you about a claim you handled? Occupational hazard, right?
A 2020 Harvard Law School study confirmed again that Active Reflective Listening is the most effective conflict resolution took when the outcome is out of the hands of the customer service agent. It’s the tool of choice when the flight has left, the item is damaged, or the hamburger does indeed have a hair.
Or, in our case – when the claim is worth what it’s worth, and they don’t like it.
Active Reflective Listening has various incantations but generally four steps:
1. Carefully listen to the complaint – that’s the Listening part
2. Test for understanding to identify the exact emotion and it’s cause – that’s the Active part
3. You repeat – REFLECT – both their emotion and the cause of it
4. You offer any solution you can and an apology if you or the company are erred
Since often, claims means never having to say you’re sorry, number 4 is pretty much out. That leaves the simple technique of carefully observing their emotion and holding up a mirror to it.
“You’re angry that the matching siding is not covered under the policy.”
That’s the technique: Name the emotion accurately and the reason for it. Say nothing else.
If you can’t name the emotion accurately, test for understanding. “Am I correct in assuming you are angry that the matching siding is not covered under the policy?”
If they respond with, “No, I’m angry that my agent did not tell me it was not covered,” you MUST name the emotion accurately and the reason for it.
“You’re angry that your agent did not tell you matching siding is not covered under the policy.”
By naming the emotion and its cause accurately, you are using the most effective conflict resolution tool when dealing with an angry person. You are reflecting to them you are aware of their anger and the reason for it.
By saying nothing else, you are not so subliminally telling them that no matter how angry they get, they are not entitled to more money.
This technique works in any human interaction, with any emotion. When dealing with an emotional person:
-Accurately name their emotion and the reason for it
-Say nothing else
You’ll be amazed at how often that emotional person becomes more rational and moves to resolution.
Mark’s Claims can always be denied! What techniques do you use when calming customer anger?