Missing the Sign

If you saw this sign on the highway with its letters missing, would you recognize the shape and know exactly what to do?  It is one of the most frequently missed signs on driver’s licenses tests.  But, it contains a powerful message for driving as well as for customer service.

Sometimes when a customer is upset or disappointed we do not know how to recognize it.  And, ignoring the signals, we barge ahead and leave a disappointed customer in our path.  We don’t miss the angry customer!  It is the quiet, smoldering types whose silence and stoic demeanor leave us without a message on the sign.  It means you have to stop, look and listen.  Stop long enough to create a space for dialogue and understanding; look like you truly care; and, listen like you were at a raffle hoping to hear your name called.

The sign…for those who have not figured it out yet…is the yield sign.  It is etched in red to signal impending danger if its warning is ignored.  The message for customer service is the same.  Stop, look and listen to what your customers are not saying, but would tell you if you took the time to hear.


About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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