Avoid the proverbial “Shrugging of the Shoulders”

One of my pet peeves out there is when you give a list of complaints to a business or an organization and they give the proverbial “shrug of the shoulders”. The “proverbial shrug” is basically the business or the organization telling you that they aren’t going to merit a discussion of your complaints because like what Jeff Probst tells losing reward challenge participants on Survivor, they have nothing for you.

I always say that everything in business is about communication because it’s a connection business.  Having empathy for clients who aren’t happy with your service goes a long way. Saying that you understand their complaints and that you will try better the next time goes a long way.

Taking the path that apologizing in any way possible is like admitting to a criminal act is only going to exacerbate the tension with the client. Whether the client’s gripes are justified or not (and many times they aren’t because it may contravene the law), they want to be heard.

For example, a few weeks back, I had one of my ERISA §3(16) client through my administration service, Austin 3(16) Fiduciary Limited (cheap plug) question what I did for my fee. I apologized and said that I should be more upfront and tell them everything I did for those 3 basis points. I took responsibility in failing to properly communicate with them and they came away happy knowing that I did everything that I promised per our contract. Taking the approach that I have more important things to do or that they could have communicated with me would only have exacerbated the issue.

People sometimes complain and all they want is to be heard and acknowledged, they don’t even want an apology. Shrugging your shoulders isn’t the way to go.

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