The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Even the Worst Customer Situations

by Richard S. Gallagher, MA MFT

Foreword by Carol Roth, New York Times bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation


This is the book that will fundamentally change the way we look at difficult customer situations.

Most bad service isn’t caused by rudeness or indifference. It is caused by fear. People naturally approach customers from a defensive posture, because they are afraid of how they might react. But when you and your team learn the same skills used by hostage negotiators, crisis counselors, psychotherapists and others in their worst situations, you can become supremely confident in any customer situation—and unlock the real secret of delivering excellent service all the time.

The worst customer situations demand more of front-line employees than good intentions and the right attitude. The Customer Service Survival Kit explains how to use the right words to turn volatile scenarios into calm and productive customer encounters. Anyone can learn this delicate art with this book’s blend of clear techniques, lessons from behavioral science, case studies, situation-specific advice, and practice exercises. Readers will discover:

The power of leaning into criticism • Trigger phrases that can make bad situations worse • The secret to helping people feel deeply heard in a crisis • How to use the divide and conquer approach to safely deliver bad news • Indispensable problem-solving tools • How to become immune to intimidation • How to wrap up transactions so that customers are happy • And more!

Best yet, learning to handle worst-case scenarios has the spillover effect of boosting your skills and confidence in any situation. The Customer Service Survival Kit is the key to radical improvements in every customer-facing organization, for you and every person on your team.