Nine Ways to Correct a Customer Without Insulting Them

In my last post, I wrote about the fact that—contrary to a popular business cliché—customers are often wrong. In those situations, it’s up to us to correct them, so they don’t make a mistake, or at least prevent them from making the same mistake again.

How we correct people though, is critical. It’s imperative to avoid making potential or existing customers feel stupid, because a person who feels insulted shuts down, and may walk away forever.

For that reason, you should never, ever tell a buyer, “You’re wrong.” Just because they are, doesn’t mean they need the fact rubbed in their face.

Instead, empathize with them and validate their belief. Use statements like:

• “I understand how you might think that.”
• “A lot of people are under that impression.”
• “That’s a common misconception.”
• “I used to think that too.”
• “Unfortunately there’s a ton of misinformation out there.”
• “I hear that a lot.”

If you’re dealing with a customer problem that was partially—or entirely—the customer’s fault, use statements such as:

• “That’s an easy mistake to make.”
• “Happens all the time.”
• “I probably would have done the same thing.”

By empathizing and validating, you help your prospect or customer feel better about being wrong. When your buyer feels understood and respected, rather than belittled and judged, they respect and like you more. Which makes it easier for you to correct their thinking, as well as to get or keep them as a customer.

Correcting a customer who is wrong is not the time to display your intellectual superiority. Rather, it’s the time to empathize and validate, because both sales and customer service are ultimately all about emotions. Create a positive emotional experience for your customer and they’ll reward you with their business.

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