Episode 388: Managing Emotional Reactions to Customer Complaints in Pet Businesses

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Have you ever faced a day that spiraled out of control despite your best efforts? Maybe it was due to a misunderstanding with a client about their pet's needs or an unexpected hiccup in your scheduling. We know it happens to the best of us, and that's exactly why this episode is crucial. We're going to show you exactly how to turn the tide, enabling these road bumps to set you apart in this competitive market.

But first, we are going to address the feeling we all have when our unhealed trauma comes up from "being in trouble." Handling customer complaints in the pet-sitting business isn't just about damage control—It's a skill that has the potential to reshape your professional trajectory and solidify your standing as a respected leader in your field. It is acknowledging the personal growth journey that it gives us the opportunity to go down.

Today, we’re breaking down those barriers and turning customer complaints into stepping stones toward unparalleled success.

Topics & Key Points

  • How to handle failure and find success with inspiring entrepreneur Julia McCoy
  • Managing client complaints with grace and effectiveness
  • Managing emotions when dealing with business complaints
  • Handling customer complaints with emotional intelligence


  • [3:41] Handling failure and finding success
  • [10:14] Managing client complaints
  • [13:03] Managing emotions when dealing with business complaints
  • [15:43] Handling customer complaints with emotional intelligence

Notable Quotes

[10:24] “These are normal responses, but understanding where they come from can help you handle them even better”

[13:59] “Now recognizing these feelings, and the Origins is the first step to managing them. And so here’s how you can regulate these emotions. And approach each complaint from a position of calm and professionalism”

[16:16] ” Handling your emotional response allows you to approach each complaint as not a challenge. But an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your client and enhance your services”

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Welcome to another episode of Bella in Your Business. My name is Bella Vasta. Oh boy. Before we get into today’s topic, which is what to do when you have an angry customer, I want to pass on something that I discovered last week about a fabulous woman named Julie and McCoy who moved here to Arizona, from Texas. And she’s quite a remarkable woman. After escaping a cult at 21. And starting her own writing company, and then selling it for millions of dollars. She has now taken that writing company and merged it with content at scale. And she’s going to be our guest speaker in the Mastermind next month. And excited. I’ve just started a friendship with this amazing woman, she has a nine-year-old daughter as well as I do, and they just hit it right off. She’s also got a beautiful two-year-old as well. And she’s just a really solid person. So when she handed me her memoir, I read it in five days, five days, and I was I had chills, and I was crying. All within the first chapter, and it did not stop. It was amazing. It could not put it down. And I started, you know, traditionally reading it and then went to Audible. And she also had a book launch last week. And first of all, sorry, the memoir, for those of you wondering, is called A Woman Rising. And it’s Julia McCoy. Last week, she also had a book launch for her ninth book called The Joy of Failure, how to Handle Failure, and experienced massive breakthroughs with her co-author, Chris Evans, and Chris flew into town for this book launch. And you could feel the palpable energy in this room, I was so grateful to be there. And I’m kind of basically on the track of anything Julie is doing. And she invites me to, I’m gonna say yes. As an entrepreneur, I believe that it is really important to surround yourself with inspiring, inspiring, and incredible people. And I just wanted to pass that on to you. But I also wanted to encourage you, as I have done so already in my groups like the mastermind, I wanted to encourage you to get the joy of failure. Now, I don’t want you to see this as an Akash, I already have so much that I want to do already have so many audible books that I want to listen to, or books that I want to read and I never get around to them. But I just really want to encourage you, you know, if you don’t have the people or you don’t have the time in your life, to get in the rooms with awesomely inspiring people, if you feel like you’re just, you know, overwhelmed, have so much to do this book is great. And there are a couple of reasons. Honestly, on Audible at normal speed, it only takes like three and a half hours to listen to. Now I say normal speed because I don’t know if you are like me, where I like to listen to things at one and a half to two times the speed. After all, my brain stays involved. You might even listen to this podcast on that. Sometimes I do listen to my podcast, and I listen to it on double speed. Because it goes so fast that my mind doesn’t wander. And so anyways, at normal speed, it’s three and a half minutes long. Also, something else that is very interesting. I am a big audible person, if you know me. This is the first book I’ve ever listened to that was a virtual voice. It sounds exactly like a human, which also led me to lead me down a rabbit hole. I saw something from Jeff and, and. And Julia. There’s this app that I trained to learn my voice in literally less than three minutes. I can type anything into this app and it produces an audio file that sounds exactly like me. It’s but I mean, one day I could literally write out the podcast and not even have to sit here and worry about my ohms and ahhs and all that other jazz but that’s neither here nor there. So go get the joy of failure. If you can’t be in the room with awesomely inspiring people. I highly recommend the book in paperback. It’s also not like a huge book that makes it feel like it’s gonna take forever to get through the lessons and it is amazing. If I can just read you a short amount then I promise I’ll get into today’s topic. They write the mask of success is the image we present to the world that makes zero Role logical sense, but people believe in it anyway with Wild Hope. They want to desperately believe that some people don’t struggle success can be easy. This mask looks like your face but blots out all of your failures, doubts, anxieties, losses, and fears. Wearing it means pretending you rose to meet your wins smoothly with nothing but fanfare fist fist-pumping smiles and excitement. It wipes away the tears, the frustration, the setbacks, and the low points as if they never happened. The messy failure-filled middle. The one we all know and experience when we strive to meet a goal doesn’t exist. When you don’t have on the mask. I wore the mask of success to protect myself. Yes, in the worldly sense, I was successful, but often, I felt insecure and like an imposter. With the mask. I had it all together, I was killing the game of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, I had the answers. I didn’t struggle as people struggled through the mask, if I presented a curated image of myself, I could control the image others had of me. However, there’s a big problem with wearing a mask. It’s not true. It’s posturing, it’s inauthentic. It’s exhausting, and not sustainable. Guys, I could keep going on with this book, reading it to you and my best mom, good night story voice. But I implore you to go get it, you will not regret it. It is so inspiring. And so antidotal. And the chapters are broken up into really awesome nuggets that you could even skip around if you wanted to. So go grab the joy of failure by Chris Evans, and Julia McCoy.

All right, today, we’re gonna get into our topic, I just felt the need to just really share stuff that is impacting my life, because if it’s impacting my life, then I’m sure it will impact your life. But I kind of wanted to talk about like, you know, when things go wrong in customer service this month, in the mastermind, we are focusing all on customer service. As you know, every single month, we have a different topic, and we dissect it and go through it. And this podcast might be a little bit more of a training session for you than then not, I can’t help myself, like, I literally can’t help myself, I want to over-deliver value. So this might be a podcast that you might want to bring your staff in on or think about, like out your notepad on your phone, or pen and paper depending on where you’re listening to it. And maybe take notes for an actual standard operating procedure sop on how to deal with things. I even thought about sharing this crazy audio that I still have from when I used to have my pet-sitting company of this lady who just went off on me. On my voicemail. I’m pretty sure she was drunk. But the way that I reacted to it, so I’m not sure if I’m going to share it on the podcast or only in the mastermind. Nonetheless, in our line of work where our emotions run high, our clients, and beloved companions are involved, right? And so managing their complaints with grace and effectiveness is nothing short of critical. It’s these moments that can either make or break our reputation. And today we’re all about making it by breaking down the barriers that complaints may seem to impose.

Have you ever had a day when despite your best efforts, things just spiraled right out of control? Maybe it’s today? Maybe it’s a misunderstanding with the client over specific pet needs or an unexpected hiccup with your scheduling. Maybe someone called out, it happens to the best of us. But here’s where we turn the tide. Here’s how we handle those bumps in the road that can significantly distinguish our business in this competitive market. Today’s episode is not only going to address why complaints are often a goldmine for business improvement but also how we can systematically tackle them to reassure our clients that their concerns are our top priorities. We’ll discuss everything from the initial response time tone, use solutions we offer, and even our internal response. So whether you’re a seasoned pro, dealing with a monthly hiccup, or a newcomer anxious about that first negative feedback Today’s episode is going to equip you with everything that you need to handle it like a champ. We are turning those dreaded complaints into opportunities for growth, trust-building, and unparalleled customer loyalty. But first, a note from our sponsors. Okay, before we move forward, let’s take a moment to discuss something deeply personal, but incredibly relevant to everything. We are going to talk about your emotional response to complaints. I’ve talked about this a little bit in previous episodes, but I wanted to start off thinking about it today because handling an angry or dissatisfied customer isn’t just a business challenge. It’s an emotional one too. So let’s dive into what you might feel like in these moments and how to effectively manage those feelings. When you get that call or email from an unhappy client, it’s natural to feel a rush of emotions, you might feel anxious, defensive, or even upset. These are normal responses, but understanding where they come from can help you handle them even better. I know a lot of you have heard me say, over the almost 400 episodes we’ve had here together, that your business is going to be the biggest mirror for your inner personal workings, things that you need to work on. And I’m gonna give you a personal example that you may or may not have heard me say before. But I will admit, before I understood my inner child before I understood my psychological upbringing, positives, and negatives. Anytime I had a client who was dissatisfied with my company, myself, or my employees, I would ultimately intimately initially, like, automatically jump into a little girl who is getting in trouble with her dad. Yeah, daddy issues right here. Okay, admitting this, it’s something that I’ve had to work on. And when someone was upset at me, I felt like an eight-year-old little girl. And, and I was in trouble. And I was shamed, and I was wrong. And, you know, all of this stuff. And, I would just clam up and like, literally, my body would react, I would, I would my anxiety, I didn’t know what it was at the time, my anxiety would grow as my heart would race, my palms get sweaty, I’d I get shortness of breath, I, I feel really on the edge, like, like, oh my gosh, oh, my gosh. And I got really scared. And it was through that emotion that I had to learn how to subtle nurture, you know, push, not push down, but like acknowledge and let the parent nurture take over. Like, it’s okay, you’re not in trouble, like, and then I also had to learn how to remove myself from it. So I am not my business, right? My business is a separate entity, and I just happen to be the mouthpiece for it. I had to separate myself emotionally from it, to even think about showing up the way I’m about to discuss today. And so, as entrepreneurs, especially in the care-centric business, like pet sitting, and dog walking, our business is a huge part of our identity. So any complaint can feel personal, like a personal attack. And it’s not, it’s just like about a specific incident. And it feels like a critique of our professionalism or even our character.

And I think that’s the first thing that we need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about and realize that they’re not personally attacking who you are. It is an incident that happened, it is a moment in time, it is a feeling, it is something that is going to pass it is not who you are. And secondly, there are often fears of the repercussions. I see a lot of people get paralyzed in response because they don’t want a negative review, a lost customer, or a bad word of mouth, which can also all feel like direct threats to the survival of our business, aka ourselves, oh my gosh, if I get this one bad review, this, you know, no one’s gonna want to hire me and I’m not gonna have a business and I’m not going to have money and like we catastrophize it. But this fear response is wired into us. And it’s about protecting what we love and what we’ve worked so hard to build.

Now recognizing these feelings, and the Origins is the first step to managing them. And so here’s how you can regulate these emotions. And approach each complaint from a position of calm and professionalism. First, you can pause and breathe. So when you first read or hear the comment, take a moment to pause. Deep slow breathing can help lower immediate stress response and give you a moment to collect your thoughts. Now I know for you for some of you, this just you know, like you’re like whatever. Whatever Bella. I used to be one of those people too. But if you really can believe in deep breathing, if you can believe in calming your inner nervous system. Some of us just operate on our nervous system popping off all day. That’s where the cortisol is going off. I go into this so deeply because I’ve done so much healing on these topics but breathing is really important. It really can change the chemistry inside of your body number to separate yourself from the complaint. As I mentioned earlier, try to detach yourself from the complaint. Remember that the complaint is about a specific situation not about you as a person or your entire business. This cognitive reframing can reduce feelings of personal attack, you need to step outside of it. Number three, reflect objectively and ask yourself, What’s the issue at hand? What are the facts, objectively looking at the complaint without emotional bias helps in understanding the situation clearly, and planning for an irrational response. And step four, respond, don’t react.

Choose your response instead of reacting impulsively, formulate what you want to say or write. Sometimes drafting your response or reviewing it after a few minutes can help you ensure it’s professional and empathetic. And number five, seek support if needed. If a complaint particularly affects you, discussing it with a mentor, colleague or friend can help sometimes just vocalizing your feelings brings clarity and a new perspective talking it out, right? It’s like verbally processing it. Handling your emotional response allows you to approach each complaint as not a challenge. But an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your client and enhance your services. By Mastering your emotions, you ensure that you’re leading your business from a place of strength and calm. Now, I’m going to also add a quick tip here. And we’re running out of time to get into the media’s topic at hand. So I think I might save it for next week. But there is a tip that I want to give to you. And that is using artificial intelligence to help craft a good response. Please, please, please, please stop going to the free Facebook groups that are full of a bunch of people that you don’t know. Please think about people who are, you know, like using artificial intelligence, like you don’t know who’s responding to you in Facebook groups, you don’t they don’t know your whole situation. You don’t know what trauma response they’re responding from. Some of these responses that I see are just like, I’m like, please don’t say that. And, oftentimes, you know, if you have trouble wording things, there is a new thing called artificial intelligence, I’m saying that jokingly go to chat GPT guys, put in whatever response that you want to respond to, and then say, Please reward this professionally, or please reward this in X tone. We have the free tools out there now to do this stuff. There’s no reason why you should be asking people in a Facebook group to reword what you want to say because we have chat GPT that’s just for starters, my personal favorite is Magi, Magai.com. So it’s facebook.com forward slash, ma G AI for 30% off, it’s only $9 a month, you get all the AI tools, most of the AI tools in there, both Britain and to make graphics for $9 a month, it’s insane. But please, please think about that. So I want to continue because I think this is important. But I want to dive into, you know, understanding the nature of the complaints.

And after we like to pause, breathe regulate ourselves. I want to talk about what to do when these complaints come in. But this episode has already been long enough. So we’re going to come back next week. We’re going to talk about effective communication strategies, I’m going to give you some phrases and things that you can do, and we’re going to talk about practical steps to resolve the complaint. That’s definitely where we’re going to be able to give you an SOP almost that you can build off of. And I think you’re gonna find it wildly helpful. So and then we also maybe next week or the following week, I guess I’m turning this into a series now talking about turning complaints into opportunities, and how we can learn from the feedback, build stronger relationships, things like that, and then resources and tools to help. So I hope that you stay with us again next week. And I hope you go get the joy of failure. I thought this was also pretty in tune in line with what we are talking about. Because you know, as an entrepreneur, we’re going to fail nine out of 10 times and we have to almost love failure more than we love success because it takes a lot of failure to Get to success, right? So go grab the book, The Joy of Failure by Julian McCoy and Chris Evans. I will see you again next week as we continue talking about how to deal with negative customer complaints. And I want to encourage you that when life gets down, always keep jumping by now

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