Derek Sivers

from the book “Anything You Want”:

Lose every fight


Customer service often starts when someone has a problem, and is upset. When you feel attacked, it’s hard not to fight back, especially when you know they’re wrong.

But the best thing to do is to lose the fight. Let them know that they were right, and the company was wrong. Tell them you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to make them happy again.

If you catch yourself about to say or write something that’s even the slightest bit aggressive, stop and replace it with something humble and generous.

Doing this every day is actually very peaceful. Acting like an angel makes you both feel better. It feels like daily empathy practice.

You know that scene in the movies, where someone is saying something nasty or secret, but then realizes a microphone is on? Then they immediately straighten up, correct themselves, and say the publicly-acceptable thing instead? Well, your microphone is on. There is no private communication in customer service. Anything you say is likely to be shared online for the world to see. So you must always be the best version of yourself.

CD Baby had some huge evangelists: people who loudly and constantly told everyone to use our company. When I looked back through their contact history, I saw that the first time they contacted us, they were loudly upset. Loud people are loud people, whether complaining or praising. So when you get some loud complaint, use that opportunity to make them so happy that they become a loud evangelist.