Thursday, March 12, 2015


Until you become familiar with the various styles , it can be easy to confuse irate customers with what I call managerial customers—especially if you are intimidated by the irate ones. (If that’s the case, please refer to my February 17, 2015 blog.) You will approach their concerns in very different ways.

Both types will approach you sounding strident, insistent, maybe even a bit on the shrill side. And both will sound assertive, perhaps even aggressive, depending on your own personal style. There are two glaring clues as to which type you have in front of you:
Are they expressing emotion?

Are they using past, present, or future tense?
The irates exude emotion, and more than likely name that emotion. They use words like, I am angry…disappointed…saddened…furious. They most often use the past tense, such as, when I asked for this, you people did that—or didn’t do that…the cause of their unhappiness with your company has taken place in the recent past.

Managerial customers are not expressing emotion; they have a rapid fire delivery. They make requests or orders in assured tones. They are exactly the people you want on your side if something has to get done and get done right the first time, because they make it happen. Think drill sergeant, if you will.
The managerials use present tense or future tense more than past, since they are advising you what they want now, or what they expect to happen in the near future. They use phrases such as, “I want this today,” or “Have it ready tomorrow by noon, I won’t have time to wait.” They don’t intend to sound rude, they are simply laying out facts.

While the irates needed their emotions validated before you could proceed, the managerials are not interested in emotion. In fact, if you attempt to engage in discussion about feelings or the weather, they will become frustrated. What else could frustrate them? Let’s discuss that next month.
Jeannie Newman of JZN Associates is the go-to person for all
your social skills training needs. Find her at, or on LinkedIn. 
JZN Associates is available for guided discussions,
workshops, or seminars. Inquire about special retainer rates.


  1. Wise words, Jeannie! The more we are able to read what's going on, the better able we are to respond.