How to Deal with the Committed-to-Cranky Customer

As a motivational speaker who travels a LOT, I see all kinds of examples of great (and not-so-great) customer service.  And since we ALL serve SOMEONE – I wonder, have you ever had this happen to you?

You’re giving GREAT customer service but the person you’re serving just simply WANTS to be ticked off?

I watched just such a situation at a rental car counter in San Diego recently.  The man was irate about something that was clearly NOT the agent’s fault, and yet she remained calm, apologized repeatedly and tried to correct the problem.  Did the man ever stop snorting and complaining?  No.  But there were several of us waiting in line who actually gave her a round of applause when he left.  She made a VERY favorable impression on the rest of us.  We all walked away talking about how great she was!  I asked for her manager’s name, then called the next day when I returned to Sarasota to commend her outstanding work.

So, if you get one of those committed-to-being-cranky people in your life, just know that you may not be able to make him or her happy, but your good customer service could make every one watching you extremely happy – to the point that they want to want to sing your praises to anyone who will listen and do business with you forever!

Long live the Committed-to-Great-Service people!

From your traveling Motivational Speaker, Linda Larsen, just learning as she goes


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. I’m hoping you use this story in your motivational talks, Linda!  This could help people in customer service make it through the tough times with those “committed-to-cranky” ones!  We can all learn from your considerate follow-through by remembering to call her manager the next day.  Great  people service!

  2. It sounds like the counter rep showed super human patience. If the rental counter is at an airport, I’ll bet that she sees a lot of people who act similarly. Sure, you’ve got ornery, self-centered people who act boorish regardless of the circumstances – but I get the feeling more and more (usually calm and collected) people are showing their hind parts because they’ve reached their person limit after the poor customer service and indignities heaped upon them by the airlines. You’re right to applaud this woman. If you remember her name, give her a shout out. Frankly, she sounds like motivational speaker material.


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