Overcoming Challenging Service Situations

Your customers face is more contorted than anything you've ever seen on the X-files...eyes bulging, fists clenched, and a scowl that makes Scrooge look like a nice guy. It's tempting to cut and run, but coping with even the most challenging situations is part of customer service. This course is designed to give you the means to hang in there when the going gets especially tough. Recognition of the warning signals is an important first step. Then you'll practice strategies that de-escalate confrontational clients. Admitting mistakes is an easy concept, but for most people, it's not so easy to do. This training adds just enough sugar to make the medicine go down, helps us let go of our egos or our fear of being wrong, and accept responsibility for errors. Though it's not appropriate to tell a customer to "chill out", there are some easy to use tactics to cool down the angry client. You'll explore the steps to guiding customers toward a solution to a problem or issue. Finally, tackle the exercise that tests your tolerance, and take a preemptive strike at conflict by learning to plan for challenging situations before they ever occur.

Target Audience
Front line staff, team leaders, and managers

Expected Duration
6.0 hours

Lesson Objectives:

Recognizing "Red Alert"

  • recognize the critical importance of identifying warning signs of potentially confrontational situations.
  • recognize the anger continuum.
  • perceive changes in body language and facial expressions in terms of how they relate to coping with angry customers.
  • use tactics to de-escalate confrontational situations immediately, given a scenario.
  • identify the characteristics and components of a plan for handling threatening situations.
  • Admitting Mistakes

  • recognize the benefits of accepting responsibility for mistakes.
  • apply the concept of accepting responsibility for errors when dealing with an unhappy customer, in a given scenario.
  • identify techniques to keep mistakes from recurring.
  • apply the key components to deliver a genuine apology, in a given scenario.
  • Defusing Customer Anger

  • recognize crucial techniques for defusing challenging customer situations.
  • apply the strategies to handle an unhappy customer in a non-defensive manner, in a given scenario.
  • utilize a nonjudgmental communication strategy when dealing with a challenging customer, given a scenario.
  • differentiate between positions and issues as a means to resolve customer complaints.
  • Guided Problem-solving

  • recognize the benefits and elements of guided problem-solving.
  • ask anticipatory questions to resolve an issue with an upset customer, given a scenario.
  • perceive the process for helping a person choose from limited options.
  • employ strategies to turn potential solutions into an action plan, given a scenario.
  • identify a person's level of tolerance to conflict and confrontation.
  • Course Number: CUST0106