The Parrot

The most iconic Monty Python skit of all time is quite possibly The Parrot. You know the one: John Cleese is returning his deader than dead pet parrot to cheeky storekeeper, Michael Palin.

Aside from causing me to laugh out loud, it’s actually a good guide on what NOT to do when dealing with an angry customer.

Tip 1: Listen to their complaint and empathise.

“I wish to make a complaint…”
“Sorry, we’re closing for lunch!”

You’ve got to give the shopkeeper props for his quick-witted attempts at dodging responsibility. But if I was the owner of a parrot that had prematurely bitten the dust, I’d be fuming. And I’m pretty sure you’d be too!

If you’re facing a red-faced, fist-brandishing angry customer, make sure you listen to their complaint and express empathy for their anger. It validates how they’re feeling and will cool them down like a figurative Ice Bucket Challenge.

Tip 2: Use similar terminology.

“It’s dead – that’s what’s wrong with it.”
“Nah, nah, it’s resting.”

While the phrase “it’s pining’ for the fjords!” might be so iconic it’s worth considering turning into a tattoo, it’s not a particularly smart way to deal with an angry customer.

If a customer is calling Polly “dead”, you should call the poor parrot the same. Calling it “resting” is likely to make the customer so mad he’ll probably require ‘arresting’ just to be kept calm! Always use the same terminology – it shows that you understand.

Tip 3: Offer a solution.

“I better replace it then…”
“Sorry, we’re right out of parrots!”

John just wants a new parrot. He’s pleading for it; he’s begging for it; he’s even taken on the inter-city rail for it! But the blimey shopkeeper is attempting to do the ol’ bait & switch to avoid the issue, and it’s maddening.

The best way to cool an angry customer down from Supernova level is just to offer them a solution. Don’t send them to Bolton or Ipswich, just tell them how you’re going to rectify their issue, when you’re going to do it and how they can contact you in the meantime.

Dealing with angry customers

I don’t often say this: don’t follow Monty Python’s example! If you’re faced with an angry customer claiming their parrot is bleedin’ demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, expired, gone to meet its maker, bereft of life, resting in peace, pushing up daisies, drawn down the curtain or joined the choir invisible… (phew!) you’d be wise to know how to deal with them.

That’s where Canity comes in. It’s smart, convenient and fun training for businesses who want to impress their customers. To learn about more strategies for dealing with angry customers click here.