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Manage What? for Managers

Manage What? for Managers

Responding Assertively to a Customer Complaint

You are the assistant manager of a paint store. Your store manager and all the service technicians have already gone home for the day. The phone rings and you find yourself talking to Mrs Philip, a customer who says (in an angry tone of voice), “You sold me a basement floor sealer and it did not work. My basement flooded with the last rain and ruined my new flooring and drywall. I am coming in right now and expect a full refund and a cheque for the damages”.

When you ask whether she fully prepared the floor with acid etching to insure adhesion, she says “No, but you shouldn’t have to do all that. I am really mad. When I bought the sealer from you guys you promised it would seal out the water. So I expect you to fix it, right now. If not, you will be talking to my lawyer”. You know that your boss might refund her money but will never go for paying any damages.

Given that you want to preserve the firm’s reputation and the customer’s goodwill, how would you respond?

What would be your ultimate goal in this exchange and what assertive behaviours could you invoke to help you achieve your goal?

Is there anything you absolutely would not want to say or do?


Manage What? Managers questions will be published once each month. Your response(s) will be appreciated.

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.