What is the BLAST Technique in Customer Service?
You may have heard of BLAST, a customer service technique to handle customer complaints without losing their business. In fact, when done well, the BLAST technique can actually strengthen your relationship with the customer and put their complaint behind you. Anyone who owns a business, from an electrical business to a roofing business, can benefit from understanding BLAST and using it whenever a customer calls to complain.
B for Believe
Your first step should always be to believe your customer’s story, even if it seems outlandish or entirely fabricated. If you find out later that there was a miscommunication or even that your customer is lying, you can bring them evidence. But if you don’t believe your customer and their complaint truly did happen, you will likely lose that customer and generate at least a negative review. Assure your customer that you take serious complaints seriously.
L for Listen
Everyone needs to feel heard. Listen to your customer’s complaint in full and try to think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes. Ask clarifying questions where you need to, and often restate what the customer said to make sure you’re on the same page. This might sound like this:
- “The employee then left the premises without finishing their work?”
- “It sounds like you were really frustrated with the loud noises.”
Typically, a customer will not let go of a complaint until they feel that you understand it, so listening and reassuring are essential to resolve the situation.
A for Apologize
Apologizing for something that is not your fault, or even that makes you defensive, is quite a skill and probably the most challenging part of the BLAST method. However, in the back of their mind, even the most irate customer probably understands that you are not personally responsible for the situation. So when you do apologize, you diffuse their anger quite considerably. Apologizing is important to do before you try to solve the issue, as it helps drop emotions and helps your customer accept your solution more easily.
S for Solve
You might have something in mind to solve or satisfy your customer’s complaints. If so, mention that solution, but be sure to ask the customer their permission to enact that solution somehow. For example:
- “It’s unacceptable for an employee to act this way and I will go speak to him/her and get back to you about the actions I will be taking. Okay?”
- “I cannot fix the damage, but I can offer you this discount to make up for it. Does that work for you?”
If you are not sure how to solve the situation, asking the person can be very helpful. Try, “How can I make this right for you?”
T for Thank
While it may not seem like it in the moment, a customer who complains has given you an opportunity to fix the situation and resolve it. Even if they have completely misunderstood or have unreasonable expectations, their complaint is still an opportunity for you to clear things up. So, always end with thanking them for that opportunity. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention” works wonders.
Find out more about another customer service technique, called HEARD.