The HEART Method

When you work in Client Services or work in a position where you could encounter an unhappy client – it’s always great to have a few tools in your back pocket.

I was recently reminded of this one just the other day – and it’s a great one…it’s called ‘the H.E.A.R.T. Method’ and it’s just one of the many tips and tricks that are taught in the CSR Mastery online training program at Agency Revolution, a leader in insurance marketing automation solutions.

As you have likely guessed, H.E.A.R.T is an acronym.  It stands for:

H: Hear
E: Empathize
A: Apologize
R: Respond
T: Thank

So, let’s break down each word of the H.E.A.R.T Method a little further – and I’ll share some pointers along the way.


Listen to what the unhappy client is saying and don’t interrupt! It’s their turn to talk, vent, share their experience, describe the problem, and perhaps teach you a thing or two about your product, service, or customer experience journey.

When it comes to our independent insurance marketing clients, I often take notes – especially if they bring up an ‘actionable item’ or something I can identify as ‘needs fixing’. Sometimes it’s a process and sometimes it has nothing to do with the direct complaint the client might have.

It’s amazing what you can learn if you listen – as the famous saying goes, ‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.’ – Epictetus

Listening is one of the most imporant parts of helping an unhappy client


Don’t just let them think you understand, let them know you understand. It’s okay to say, ‘I can see why that would be very frustrating’, or even ‘I would feel angry, too’. When things don’t go well, it’s reassuring to know you are not in the boat alone – and more importantly that someone cares and takes their experience (and the feelings that come with it) seriously.


It can be as simple as ‘I’m sorry that that happened.’ Or ‘I’m sorry that ‘x’ made you feel that way.’ I realize that odds are you couldn’t single-handedly prevent the issue from happening – but it’s happened and it’s okay to empathize and apologize for someone else’s unfortunate situation without necessarily taking full responsibility.


You need to explain to the unhappy client how you are going to respond to their experience and details of what they have just shared. Now keep in mind that you might not be able to “fix” or “reverse” whatever has happened, but you can (and should) commit to something. Perhaps it’s a promise of an email or follow-up phone call that is made in a timely fashion. Remember they are looking for action and you are the one that can deliver.


Thank your client for bringing the issue to your attention

Thank your client for taking the time to reach out and share their story. Why? They were kind enough to take the time to share something that likely needs fixing or improving with you and not just keeping it to themselves (or worse telling their colleagues). Not only that – they are also giving your company a chance to ‘make right’ and turn a disgruntled client into a raving fan.

Often, when dealing with my insurance marketing clients, there is something I can fix, adjust, or change to make their future experience better or less likely to happen again. And isn’t that what all companies should be striving for? Constant improvement of product and process to provide the client that ‘Wow’ experience every time? That is the essence of the H.E.A.R.T Method.

Are you looking for more ways to personalize your client communications? Fuse™, the leading insurance marketing automation tool is here to help!

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