Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook (Third Edition2010): A Self-Instructional Workbook For Public Sector Employees Paperback – 6 Apr 2010
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The business case for buying this book is that angry customers eat up lots of organizational time and energy, particularly when they decide to climb the organizational ladder with their complaints.
The promise Bacal makes for the Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook is that: "Employees can do things to defuse anger and reduce abusive behavior. People can learn to act in ways that reduce this kind of behavior, and ensure that they do not do anything that will result in an unpleasant situation going ballistic." Escalation doesn't have to happen. This workbook fulfills that promise magnificently well.
The Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook is a workbook, a manual, and a practice guide all in one. Bacal's content is enriched from the experience of several thousand public sector employees who have participated in Bacal's seminar called Defusing Hostile Customers.
The workbook features 117 tactics you can use effectively to defuse hostile customers, and it has useful, thought provoking exercises you can do. The tactics will reduce your stress levels at work and protect your valuable time.
This workbook doesn't use a cookie cutter approach. As Bacal says, "There are no hard rules that you apply automatically to defuse angry customers. Each hostile situation is different. There is no magic solution or cookbook approach that works every time." But, his solutions are exceptionally useful and hands on.
The core concepts of the workbook center around a master strategy called the CARP System. The letters in CARP stand for Control, Acknowledge, Refocus, and Problem solve. You can't problem-solve until you've done the first three steps, and it's crucial to deal with the feelings first.
Among the many pivotal tactics and concepts that the workbook offers are the following: The language you use. Type 1 language is confrontational even if you might not think it so. Type 2 language is the language you should use, cooperative language. Bacal also gives us eight verbal self-defense techniques. And, sometimes you have to refer a hostile customer to another worker, supervisor, or manager, so Bacal offers a chapter on referral techniques that use third parties to defuse hostile situations.
Reading the Assertive Limit Setting chapter alone is worth the price of the Workbook. The workbook emphasizes that it's crucial when dealing with unacceptable behavior to use assertive limit setting by describing the unacceptable behavior, requesting behavior change, and stating consequences. Here is one of Bacal's examples: "Sir, if you continue to swear and yell, I will have to end our conversation. Would you prefer to continue or stop now?"
The 2010 edition of the Defusing Hostile Customer's Workbook has two new sections. The first new section is Customer Interactions through Media. Bacal delivers a profound message when he tells us that when the medium changes, so does the communication. He then describes those changes in clear language. Bacal teaches us that customer service, marketing and branding, and reputation management have converged into one entity. Therefore, "anything that negatively affects people's perceptions of government affects you." So when customers enter communication with government employees, those customers often have a chip on their shoulders. That makes it much more difficult to defuse the customers' anger, since their anger is based on expectations and prejudice and not on direct experience with the government employee.
The section on email exposes the limits of email and shows how best to use it to convey facts, but we should all be warned that email as a communication mode has many problems. Bacal cites a 2004 study of internet service providers that suggested that as much as 25 percent of requested corporate email was inaccurately identified as junk email and sent to the junk folder or deleted. The workbook also gives insights into social media and its limits for our work.
The other new chapter is about Audiences, Groups, Crowds, and Mobs. The material on delivering presentations to hostile or resistant audiences and public speaking will be particularly relevant to anyone who presents government positions and policies to hostile or angry audiences. Those audiences are often not happy to hear the information we deliver. Bacal gives us the means to enhance our credibility by focusing on the similarities we share with the audience such as how we dress, common ground we share, the language we use, etc. He stresses preparation, focusing on your audience's concerns, using a balanced approach that honestly broaches the audience's objections that we've anticipated. Finally, he stresses the value of co-presenting or using a team speaking approach to cover for each other and to play off each other's strengths.
Buy this book!
Submitted by Steve Katz, Trainer, Child Support Enforcement Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services.
The following is how this author responded to my concern. I was shocked by the negative service attitude of this author, and wonder if he can really practice what he preaches in his book. What an arrogant service and author's attitude! What kind of bullying that a sensible author will do to his readers (and potential readers who may have doubt about their future purchase!):
Robert Bacal says:
Sam, I do "customer service" a bit differently, and I apply a standard which you will dislike. It's a standard of reasonability. If you, for example, make untrue statements or statements made out of ignorance and haven't bothered to understand the industry, let's say, I feel no obligation to you. LIkewise if you are given a clear explanation of how this works. It's clear that you are unclear about what an "edition" is and has been for centuries. That's fine. I've asked you elsewhere if you would like to return "your copy" for a refund, and for more specific documentation. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I don't care to do business with rude, ignorant people, and one of the points in my book on Defusing Hostile Customers is that customer service people have rights also. I also don't care to do business with people who make accusations they neither 1) understand and 2) document. I am not sure if you fit into the rude and ignorant category, but on the latter to, Bingo.
I think it's time we stand up to customers who think they can accomplish things by deception and bullying which is why I wrote Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook.Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook (Third Edition2010): A Self-Instructional Workbook For Public Sector Employees
Sam Hui "Fan" replies:
Are you kind or not rude in the way you write? See how easily you got upset? See how you over-reacted? See your EQ management!?
This shows your ignorance in handling customers. Your response shows that you cannot even apply what you wrote in your book. You have no tact or diplomacy, using only your left brain in handling and judging people. You are more competent to write a book on "How to Create Hostile Customers and Defuse No One"?
Who cares you do customer service differently? Your way or Highway? There are many many other better books or better authors, writing better books on this same topic in this universe. You have an "Inflated Ego". Try customer service 101. Back to the basic. Read "How To Win Friends and Influence People" again. It will help you a lot!
Your book is not a customer service bible. You are writing all these comments to justify why your book is "not fully updated edition" (deceiving the potential buyers in certain way). You are actually deceiving yourself too! Never never in my life have I seen an author who can be as rude and narrow-minded as you are!!
Don't think you are the "Know it all" in the book industry. Readers don't buy "book industries". They buy only "good books". They buy only "good authors" with character and credibility.
Once every few months we'll review a technique from it at a staff meeting, gets people talking.
The exercises and case studies are good, and they can be customized.
One thing I found is that I find myself using some of the techniques with my kids.
Downside. The writing isn't all that exciting, but it is clear if somewhat repetitive.
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