Family and Relationship

Activities for Handling Difficult Customer Conversations

Honing your customer service and conflict management skills takes time and practice. After enrolling your team in workshops and training courses, you can implement recurring in-house exercises to keep their skills sharp.

When we spoke with experts about dealing with difficult customers, the most frequently recommended customer service training exercise was role-playing. Although each customer may bring about a unique conflict and interaction, it is important to prepare your employees for as many different situations as possible.

Sarah Bugeja, demand generation director at Wave Financial, recommends acting out case studies in a group setting – one employee role-plays as a customer and the other as a service representative. They can act out how each side might handle the given scenario, and once they resolve the issue, they switch places. This will help them understand each side of the situation.

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When your employees are able to view issues from the customer’s viewpoint, they will be better equipped to empathize with an unhappy customer when a real situation arises.

“The simple fact is difficult customers are part of running a business, but instead of seeing this as a negative, I would suggest seeing it as a positive,” said Bugeja. “These customers are coming to you because they are looking for answers, and while they may not always do it in the most diplomatic way, you are given the opportunity to gain the trust of somebody whose trust you didn’t have beforehand.”

Key takeaway: Don’t let angry customers throw your team off. Take the time to develop customer service and conflict management skills to defuse difficult situations.

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