Customer Service Tip: Acknowledge and refocus

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

Taking ownership is sometimes confused with being blamed, but it’s really about accepting responsibility for solving a problem.

A great way to take ownership (and diffuse any anger) is through the Acknowledge and Refocus technique. * Acknowledge the problem or service failure. This conveys empathy and helps the customer feel valued. * Refocus on a solution. Being solution-oriented prevents you from getting stuck on discussing blame and will give your customer the confidence that you are here to help.

Sound too easy? Here’s two ways it can go wrong if you aren’t careful:
1. You say, “I’m sorry” but your customer doesn’t feel acknowledged. Be sure your tone and body language convey just as much empathy as your words.

2. You get stuck playing the ‘blame game’. It’s easier than you think. Phrases like “Who told you that?” or “Well, I didn’t do that!” are good signs that you are playing the ‘blame game’ rather than focusing on a solution!