Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Rhyme Your Way to Customer Satisfaction

This week we feature an article by Dr. Marlene Caroselli shares a rhyme that will help you to communicate with customers and provide customer satisfaction. – Shep Hyken

It’s important to have a verbal safety net that will rescue you, especially when an angry customer is calling your office, This easy-to-remember rhyme will help you help your customer find satisfaction. The four words—Fear, Hear, Mirror, and Steer—could even be printed and be kept near your phone so you can rely on them quickly and smoothly. The steps associated with each word are detailed as follows.

1. Fear

Above all else, a dangerous caller must be dealt with immediately. Be certain your office has established measures to be taken if the caller is threatening. Those might include transferring the call to a manager or to security. In a worst-case scenario, to the police.

Most callers, of course, will simply be seeking information. And some may be calling to express their dissatisfaction. The “fear” that may permeate a customer-exchange will seldom be experienced by you, the company’s representative. Most often, it will be the caller experiencing some measure of fear—usually fear that he will not have concerns addressed. If your company has been in business for more than a month, you know there is a pattern to the incoming calls. Knowing what customers’ concerns are will make it easier to develop a script, one that will assure callers that their specific issues are being addressed.


Ideally, customer service representatives in your company are undergoing periodic training to ensure they are truly listening to customers; concerns. If this training has not yet occurred, you can take a leadership role by having informal training sessions. Or, by emailing short pointers on, for example, the importance of not interrupting a caller. Or, by asking questions at the appropriate time. Or, by learning about best practices in other companies and incorporating some of those into your own. Your Human Resources department should be able to assist you in this endeavor.

3. Mirror

There are both verbal and non-verbal ways to assure the customer that she is being heard. If you are speaking with a customer or potential customer, you can nod to assure her that her concerns have been understood, her questions will be addressed. You can shake hands at the end of the exchange, too. If the individual is calling or emailing, you can mirror her comments by summarizing near the end of the communication, thus showing your eagerness to have captured everything that was important to her.

4. Steer

If you cannot handle the customer’s problem yourself, be sure you know to whom you can “steer” him in order to have that problem satisfactorily resolved. Again, most of the calls coming in will have a similar and familiar ring to them. The reasons for the customers’ calls are ones you’ve probably heard before. Thus, you should have a list of the persons or places to which you can refer the customer. Don’t fumble for extension numbers—have those ready.

There’s a possible “E” here—another rhyming word that will complete the customer-satisfaction circle: Reappear. Depending on the nature of the resolution, you may wish to contact the customer again in the future—in a few hours, a  few days,  a few months. When you “reappear,” express appreciation for the customer having brought the problem to your attention. Say that you hope the earlier discussion resolved that problem. Offer to speak with the customer again if he has any further comments to share.

If you agree with Shiv Singh that the “purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers,” then you’ll Fear-Hear-Mirror-Steer your way to an ever-expanding customer base.

Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer who writes extensively about education, business, self-improvement, and careers and has adjuncted at UCLA and National University. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director’s Choice by the Doubleday Book Club. Applying Mr. Albert: 365+ Einstein-Inspired Brain Boosts, her 62nd book, was released by HRD Press in 2018.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Delta, We’re Ready When You Are!


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