Killing Customers With Kindness

Hey there!

I offer products and services to the public. Deciding to do that means I automatically have to accept that I will get complaints.

Some people decide they are allowed to be nasty and abusive.

I have a very specific process for handling those complaint conversations, and it’s something you can use all throughout your life as you deal with people that are…disagreeable.

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and today I want to talk to you about
killing customers with kindness and
remember in one of the other videos we
talked about the fact that everybody’s a
customer right so I sell stuff I offer
products I offer services to the public
– actors to consumers etc and making
that decision to do that – simply put
yourself out there offer a product or
service means that you automatically
have to accept that there are going to
be complaints now I’m very fortunate I
get very few complaints considering how
many people purchase my stuff I have
tens of thousands of users of rehersal
Pro and I get maybe a complaint every
couple of days some days I get two
complaints sometimes they got none with
vo to go go I can count on one hand the
number of complaints that I’ve had over
the years about what we do so I think
part of that is making sure that I meet
people’s expectations but occasionally
there’s going to be somebody who’s upset
and you may have noticed maybe you’ve
engaged in this kind of behavior
yourself you may have noticed that since
the Internet has become a thing
complaining has become
uh just like bloody it’s it’s like
people on the internet take the
opportunity to eviscerate you as opposed
to just you know I remember when I was a
kid you know my grandfather and my dad
or my mom or whatever would complain
about something they going to go hey can
I talk to you about something I’m not
really happy with what happened here or
there we’re at a restaurant they need to
talk to the manager or whatever it’s
like you know I really would like today
you know you’ve seen it I mean there are
whole websites dedicated to people who
are just jackasses about insulting
people taking it to extremes the
anonymity of the Internet the distance
between us and who we purchase for
online rather than in person makes it
real easy to get real crazy about
complaining about things and what I’ve
noticed is happening is that that kind
of behavior is now starting to creep
into face-to-face interactions you know
somebody doesn’t get a straw or an extra
pickle on their hamburger and they’re
reaching over the counter to McDonald’s
and punching somebody I’m sure that
these things happened in the past before
the internet but I got it I got to think
not as much as now our behavior is being
modeled by what we see online and so
knowing that I’m gonna get these
complaints and knowing that people tend
to really over blow some of the things
that they complain about I talked in
another video about somebody just like
insulting me and calling me names for
charging $20 for my app which is a
professional tool for actors to learn
their lines it called called rehearsal
Pro couldn’t be more damning of me and
my afterlife and the kind of
relationships that I had with my mother
you know and and I’ve seen worse I’ve
seen people who elevated to an art form
and the question is when you’re facing
this sort of thing how do you deal with
that do you yell back do you get just as
cutting you want to you want to be able
to say I can do better at that sort of
behavior than you can and the truth of
the matter is is that I can and when I
find myself feeling that and I’m the one
doing the complaining I always pull back
and remember that I have to be on the
other end of that conversation as
someone who offers a product or service
and a long time ago I learned one of the
basics of customer service and that is
to walk a mile or two or at least 10
feet in your customers shoes and I have
a phrase that I’d like to share with you
that I think you’ll find useful when you
deal with a customer that has a
complaint that is upset with you that
has a disagreement with you and remember
everyone’s a customer go watch the video
on on who’s a customer everyone’s a
customer friends family not just the
people that consume our products and
services but everybody vendors teammates
peer group social media people they’re
all customers they all want something
they all have expectations whether
they’re low or high so when somebody has
an issue here’s where I tend to begin
and I tend to use these words verbatim
because they cover the waterfront and
that is I completely understand and I
would feel exactly the same way you do
if I were in your place so somebody is
just pissed off at me mad you know
they’re frustrated this happened once
when I was having lunch with Betsy at a
California Pizza Kitchen a guy was
sending me all kinds of really abusive
email about the fact that he knows he
entered his username and password when
he registered for rehearsal Pro and now
my stupid effing app won’t take his
username and password and you know this
crap I paid 20 bucks for this this is
like you know I’m trying to get this
stuff done and your app is killing my
acting career it just became really and
I’m looking this and I’m like can I just
call him and she’s like yeah go ahead I
think she secretly loves watching me
when I am dealing with this sort of
thing either bemused that it’s happening
to me or hopefully a little bit of
respect about how I handle things so I
said hey could you do me a favor and
just call me because I think we’d be
able to handle this easier with a phone
call and the moment you actually talked
to somebody all of that vitriol kind of
dissolves a little bit because now
there’s a live person on the other end
of the phone and I and I in that phone
call I probably on the phone with the
guy for maybe ten minutes while we were
waiting for our food and I never raised
my voice when he raised his voice I said
I understand I started the conversation
with Steve thank you so much for calling
me and I completely understand how you
feel I would feel exactly the same way
if I were in your shoes I’m sure it’s
very frustrating yeah it is yeah that’s
what it is so I said you’re having
problems logging in is that right and he
said yeah I’m tapping in my username and
he said actually what he said was I’m
tapping in my email address and my
password and I said can I ask you a
question I heard you say you’re tapping
in your email address as your username
and your password and it’s saying
invalid username or password is that
right yes and I know I’m tapping it
correctly I know I entered it correctly
I don’t need your stupid app to tell me
that I don’t know how to tap on my
iPhone and I said well what I heard you
say was you’re tapping in your email
address is that right yeah I said do you
remember when you registered that you
selected a username that wasn’t your
email address I don’t know if you’re
from that I know you just registered
about a half an hour ago do you remember
that he goes
and you could hear the gears turning and
I said so what I’d like you to do is if
you wouldn’t mind your email address is
not the same as your username
could you please tap in the username
that you selected and the email address
that you chose and see if that works uh
okay like he already realized what his
mistake was and he tapped it in and son
of a gun if it didn’t work and he said
here’s what he said he said thanks and
he hung up okay I think at that point my
appetizer showed up it was like great
and about hmm I would say five minutes
later my phone rang and it was him and
I’m like oh what other problem is he
having and I picked up the phone and he
spent the next I would say five minutes
or so apologizing as vociferously as he
had been complaining with language that
if what he was using when he was
complaining was dark and threatening and
awful when he was apologizing and
telling me how great my app was it was
amazing and awesome and supportive and
I’ll tell all my friends about it and
I’m already rehearsing with my script
and this is just great and I can’t
believe I was such a jerk when I was
complaining to you and I think that the
phrase I completely understand how you
feel and I would feel the same way if I
were in your place acknowledges that the
person is upset that you understand why
and how and that if you were them you’d
be feeling the same way and so you’re
identifying with them and we’ve all seen
examples of managers at restaurants and
store clerks and so on who have this way
with people
that is really patient and really kind
and they managed to work things
out some people I will warn you if you
put this in to put it into play some
people are just not going to respond
they just have decided that you are the
devil incarnate that you’ve ripped them
off and no matter what you say or how
you say it
you are not going to tell them any
different even if you point out the fact
that the way they were doing something
needed to be changed for them to get
what they wanted so but 99% of the time
I don’t know if that’s the right number
but let’s just say it is that phrase I
completely understand how you feel and I
feel the same way if I were in your
shoes or if I were in your place is
amazing it’s amazing and it’s such a
diffuser so use that not just when
you’re dealing with people who have
purchased something from you or that
you’re providing a service for but what
if you said that to your spouse or to
your kids or to your church members
parishioner you know social network
people you know instead of jumping
online on on a Facebook group and just
playing the troll or dealing with the
troll instead of trying to out troll the
troll what if you either just ignored
them you know or said hey I think that
you know I understand how you’re feeling
people don’t expect that it’s totally
disarming and they instantly wonder what
what your problem is what do you have up
your sleeve what are you trying to do
we’re trying to pull over on me so I
wonder if you have any magic phrases I
wonder if you have any ways of killing
customers with kindness let me know in
the comments below let me know if this
is helpful right if you want to sign up
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it’s awesome
I’m David H Lawrence xvii I thank you so
much for watching and I will talk to you



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  1. OMG, what an absolutely, unbelievably, MIND-NUMBINGLY, RIDICULOUSLY

    positive way to approach relationships–something I need to practice more. My inner curmudgeon is way too fond of common-to-the-Internet attitudes.

  2. So True.. Love the subject and the examples and response. Have a Wonderful Day!
    Yes this should be very helpful for everyone to reinforce what we sometimes forget.

  3. This resonated with me just as much on the personal relationship front. Unnervingly apt timing at the moment! These are universally useful tools, so thank you.

  4. While I don’t always agree with saying “I understand” to someone because as I have sometimes experienced, it can feel condescending, however … I LOVE I would feel that way if I were in your shoes.
    Having said that your compassion shows and you are so right, when we put ourselves out there we need to be prepared for complaints. Thanks for this new tool, I will tuck it near the top of the many gems I have received from you already 🙂

  5. I was working at a U-Haul when a guy in a truck pulls up to me in the parking lot, rolls down his window, and starts screaming at me because I supposedly insulted his wife. I very calmly told him that I hadn’t. He proceeded to threaten me with physical violence (which would have been bad because I think I had gotten my black belt around that time). I stayed calm and told him again and again, using gentle language, that I hadn’t even talked to a female customer recently. Eventually he calmed down and apologized. Thanks for the video David.

  6. I think that you find more customer vitriol on line than in person. I’ve been in front line retail for more years that I thought was necessary, and I’ve gotten more bile over the phone and in email than to my face. I do like the way you handled the customer, and I like your version of “I understand” (I’m lifting that phrase for myself, if you don’t mind). I’ve found that if I listen to what they’re saying rather than trying to fill the space with my own voice, we get to a solution faster, whether the customer has a need that needs to be filled (“Do you have a such and such?”) or a complaint.

    Of course, there are some customers that cannot be appeased or satisfied. At one job I had, there was a customer who was not happy with what we had done for her, which was over and above the normally excellent service we provided our customers. It got to the point that out COO, who knew all about this before I got that customer on the phone, picked up the receiver and, after talking to her very calmly for five minutes, told he to take her business elsewhere and capped it by saying “I’m firing you as a customer”. That story is now part of the company legend.

    Then there was the drunk customer who I was ringing out at the register and was being verbally abusive to me. I just politely smiled and nicely parlayed with him, much to his consternation. He eventually went with the F Bomb, and I replied using a line I’d gotten from a Live Journal account: “Only if we can cuddle later.” (my wife likes that line). He apologized the next time I saw him. Go figure…