Breaking Bad News to Customers: Five Tips to Soften the Blow

Apr 29th, 2011 | By | Category: Business-Success Strategies

By Susan Berkley

Breaking bad news to customers is not an easy task. However, when the time comes, it must be done with empathy and professionalism.

Here are five strategies for delivering the message with compassion:

  1. Tell the truth. People tend to fear what they do not understand. Put the situation into perspective for your customer. Give as much information as you can about the who, what, when, where and why.
  2. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. It’s useless and naïve to tell customers not to worry or expect them not to get frustrated. They ARE worried, and maybe even angry at how the events will affect them (or their companies) personally. Don’t leave them guessing. Give them all the facts.
  3. Acknowledge their feelings. Don’t invalidate their feelings by suggesting the situation is “not that bad.” This is also not a time for humor. Let them vent. Negative emotions must be dealt with before they can be replaced with a positive plan of action.
  4. Take charge. Outline a specific plan of action that you and your company will take. Assume ownership for the customer’s situation.
  5. Follow through. Make it your priority to track the progress on the customer’s problem within your company. Make frequent status reports to the customer until the situation is resolved to his or her satisfaction.

From “The Voice Coach” ezine by Susan Berkley.  Copyright 2010, reprinted

with permission. For a free subscription visit

Susan Berkley is a professional speaker and international communications

expert. She is a top voiceover artist and author of “Speak to Influence:

How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Voice, ” available at bookstores or

from The Great Voice Company at  800-333-8108.


One Comment to “Breaking Bad News to Customers: Five Tips to Soften the Blow”

  1. Hennie says:

    Tell it like it is … You built credibility by getting your clients to believe you and believe in you.

Leave a Comment