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Escalation

What if you are at the receiving end of Customer escalation? As the Customer is expressive about his emotional cords based on specific quantitative reasons (save yourself from being judgemental about these reasons). You know there is an escalation and the Customer's take on "why?". 

You need to be a human and convince yourself - this escalation has a way out, and you are close to it. Most importantly, being a snipper, you will utilize the Customer as a competent navigator.

If we simply stay away from the dictionary meaning, Escalaiton is an absolute reaction to verified or non-verified problem with a perceived potential of causing a damage.

When there is an escalation from the Customer, you need to understand without undermining the situation:

01. Sense

Hostage of worst experience

If there is an escalation, it is the last option that the Customer is putting up-front. In most cases - people do escalate when they become hostage to the worst experience of that situation with no way out in the purview of their vision. Note that the scope of the Customer's vision is always time-bound and resource sensitive - as there is a cost attached to it. 

Reasons for the worst experience

The reason for this so-called outburst of escalating cords could be project-specific, personal, or external factors. So you need to ensure you are not looking at it as a personal attack or pin-pointing your capacity. 

Fear of losing the control

Being in control gives an immense sense of being in the safe zone and makes underlying problem areas look vague. Opposite to this - losing control is a nightmare for any project sponsorers as fear of missing out on the targets emerges higher and higher.

02. Feel

Business level

At the business level - it is essential to know - every project has a cost, deliverables, and KPIs at every level. Any cost expenditure always demands the results and value it was meant to be added to the business. So it is always stressful to remain in the shoes of the Customer.

The actual cost is much higher:

Apart from the project's cost, the Customer also invests time, Resources, and Outcome potential while sponsoring the project. Hence, the project's actual cost is much higher than the dollar value of the contract.

Indirect sponsorer and their KPIs

There could be certain other parallel activities happening, which would assume the project's timely completion to eliminate the dependency. This means there are some indirect sponsorers of the project too.

03. Revive

Step back and calm down:

Step back and calm down; this will give you a much-needed fresh thought process to handle the situation. Calmness helps control the tone of voice and set the direction for the strategic conversation. 

Separate yourself from the situation:

As a CSM, you must learn the art of separating yourself from the situation and relooking at it with a fresh eye. This helps in not getting into defensive or argumentative mode. This makes your customer feel a sense of being cared for. 

Benefit of doubt

Last but not least comes the Benefit of the doubt. It needs a destructive way of managing the conversation to change some situation upside down by order of magnitude. The benefit of the doubt indirectly enforces your pissed-off customer to give you more scope for driving the conversation toward a solution. 

Whether you think about it or not - your customer genuinely deserves the Benefit of Doubt. When you get into an escalating meeting - make your first stance in the conversation by giving a strong sign to the customer that - they are being heard well.

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