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When we mess up as kids we’re told off by our parents, marked down by our teachers and laughed at by our peers, and this can leave us feeling so terrified of failure that when an angry customer comes along to complain our natural instinct is to avoid any blame. But saying ‘it wasn't my fault’ is of neither interest nor help to the customer, who sees you simply as a representative of a business that has failed to deliver. Being defensive or taking things personally only hinders your ability to solve the problem.

Equally, you may feel that the customer’s complaint is not legitimate or that it might even be their fault, but unless the cost of fixing the problem is prohibitive, none of this really matters. What does matter is the continuing relationship you want to have with your customer, so ask yourself which is most important, being right or making it right.

The video below offers a 5-chair activity for each and every one of us to analyze our behavior and communication.