The distinction between a “bad” and “good” service call is razor-thin — and it’s made entirely in the customer’s mind. One factor that influences how that perception will shake out? Communication style.

Customers do not want to hear:

“The problem with what you’re saying is…”

They would rather hear:

“Here’s what I can do for you…”

Technicians can use either of these phrases to being their explanation of what went wrong, and how they plan to resolve it. But the latter is the smarter tactic to settle down an irate customer.

Direct Communication

To keep a small problem from becoming a big one — or a big problem from becoming even bigger— work directly with the customer to resolve problems or misunderstandings without escalating the situation further. Ultimately, the more people who become involved in the “mix”, the more “mixed up” the overall situation is likely to become. Be direct, be honest, be forthcoming, and be smart.


By not keeping the customer “in the loop” at all times, you risk raising the customer’s anxiety level as they proceed through the repair. If the repair seems to be taking longer than originally expected, for example, the customer may grow increasingly agitated. Defuse the situation by simply letting the customer know how things are going. You will have a much clearer path toward completing the job — and it could ultimately be the deciding factor that determines whether the customer’s perception will be good or bad.

Here are a few additional tips service pros can use to create a great service experience every time:

  • Remember the LOTS method: Listen, Observe, Think, Speak.
  • Address all of your customer’s questions and comments as soon as possible, even if your immediate response is, “I don’t know.” You can always follow-up with a more complete response later.
  • Respond sufficiently to all customer requests, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. You might not remember everything you promised, but the customer will.
  • Look, and act, like a professional when you’re onsite or on the phone. Service pros are direct representatives of their company, and customers will expect nothing less.
  • Right or wrong, customers always come first in their own minds.
  • Honestly, don’t lie: Customers expect you to be honest, even when delivering bad news. Arriving late? Unable to fix the problem as quickly as expected? Be honest.
  • Meet expectations every time: The customer expects a high and consistent level of service and support. Set the bar at a level they feel to be satisfactory, and consistently meet it.