When it comes to criticism,
most people think it's more blessed to give criticism than to take it, especially
if the criticism comes from a difficult person who also happens to be your customer.
What are some effective ways you can handle those tough to handle critical situations?
The first technique is ideal
for dealing with unjustified criticism. Often this type of criticism
comes in the form of advice (sometimes both unwarranted and unasked for!). An
example might be a co-worker who overhears you on the phone with a customer
and says, "Boy, I just overheard you on the phone with that customer. I don't
think I would have said that."
Typically there are two
ways to respond to that co-worker: (1) We could get quiet and mumble and admit
that we were wrong (a passive approach); or (2) we could tell that person where
they could go with their opinion (the aggressive route - a favorite with many).
A far better approach would be to utilize the assertive FOGGING technique which
calmly acknowledges that there may be some truth in the criticism.
For the previous criticism
of your coworker, you could fog them by saying "Perhaps I could've responded
to that customer differently." You don't say to the critic that they are absolutely
right and you don't tell them they are absolutely wrong. You merely agree that
there may be some truth in the statement. Other potential fogging responses
might be: You might be right about...You could be right about...What you say
When you are given valid
criticism, the best thing to do is to ADMIT THE TRUTH. That is, accept your
mistakes and faults without overapologizing for them. Too often when we make
a mistake we try and cover up the mistake. Perhaps the root of coverups lie
in our childhood of getting "caught" and our fear of punishment. But in reality,
the best thing we can do is to admit we made a mistake and move on into the
future. Potential phrases might include: You're right, I didn't....You're right.
I did do that incorrectly. Now that I know the correct way to do it... The key
here is to not overapologize. When it comes to customer service, most
customers love the words, "I sorry".
Dealing with vague criticism
is sometimes the most difficult and frustrating. In these cases, it is important
to REQUEST SPECIFIC FEEDBACK. You want to prompt criticism by listening to your
critic and asking questions. Some examples are: What did I do that...How could
I improve...What am I doing specifically... All of these questions will force
your critic to be more clear in their criticism of you and will enable you to
change your behavior to more effectively meet their expectations or needs.
The bottom line in handling
criticism is that true professionals learn how to build a firm foundation out
of the bricks that others throw at them. That is what handling criticism effectively
can do for you...it can help you build a foundation of mutual respect rather
than a barrier for protection.