Delivering Bad News to Your Boss

Giving a customer bad news can be hard. But giving bad news to the boss can be even more difficult.

The February issue of Customer Communicator, the training and motivation newsletter for frontline reps, includes practical tips on delivering bad news to customers, coworkers, and even the boss.

“Telling your boss that there&rsqup;s a problem can be daunting,” says Chris Fenning, a communications skills instructor. He suggests the following three steps to break the news of a service failure or other problem.

  • Introduce the problem. “Before you approach your manager, take some time to gather your thoughts,” he says. “Practice summarizing the problem in a couple of sentences. Think about what happened, when, and who is affected (or will be).”
  • Briefly describe the impacts. Start with the impact on your customers and continue with how the problem may impact coworkers or internal customers.
  • Propose a solution. Go into the conversation with one or two solutions in mind, says Fenning. “And be prepared to explain why you think they will work.”

More on delivering bad news to customers, coworkers, and the boss appear in the February issue of Customer Communicator.

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