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The fastest way to make people happy

Sometimes things just go wrong. Angry customers are storming the gates.  The situation is melting down.  It happens to every business.

Find the fastest way to make people happy.

It doesn’t need to be a solution to the problem that made them angry.  It need to be a quick and grand gesture to show that you understand and that you care.

  • Canceled flights?  Airlines should run to Home Depot and buy 100 power strips. Instant calm as 600 people can plug in and tune out.
  • Long wait for tables at a restaurant?   Pass out free drinks to people in line.
  • Waiting room delays?  Give out gift certificates to the nearest fast food and call customers’ cell phone when it’s their turn.

If you move quickly with a response that shows sympathy, you’ll pop the growing balloon of anger and bring things back to civility, giving you space to solve the real problem.

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  1. Kevin Eikenberry April 22, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    Andy – I completely agree with you and your examples are outstanding. My view is that these practical suggestions build customer relationships, which is the key to long term business growth (and keeps you from dealing with the recession as well!) For a bit more about that connection, check out this blog post:
    Thanks again for a great post!
    Kevin Eikenberry

  2. Sally Felkai April 22, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    This is so true. My local deli gets really backed up on weekends so the owner comes around and offers everyone in line homemade cookies and a ciao bellissima with his huge smile. The mood in there is amazing.
    I wonder if this is just easier to do with a small business? Airline employees don’t seem particularly inspired or empowered in my experience.

  3. Ina April 23, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Hi Andy,
    Its the complete opposite of being egocentric.Businesses have to put themselves in their customers shoes if they want to survive.Overall it creates better Karma in the long run.If it wasnt for the customer there would be no business.The more creative ways that people can think of things the better it will be for everyone in the end.People will expect more.These ways of keeping your customer happy are smart and fun.

  4. MarketingTwins-Randy April 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Isn’t it most people’s first thought “but those things cost money!” Yes, but the ROI is incredible. Silence the angry mob! Or at least appease them with snacks.
    I enjoy the places that dispatch someone through the line taking orders – maybe writing it out to where when you arrive to the counter, it’s a much faster process. There’s nothing more irritating for a customer than to stand in line. At such a critical point of purchase-decision, you don’t need to give the customers a forced pause. Too much could happen. If you can’t seal the deal, delay tactics work well and prolong their interest.

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