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Can you really train to handle complaints?

By James Larter

Posted 12/10/2018

This is a question we’re often asked, and in a nutshell we believe the answer is a resounding YES, and over the years we’ve worked with a wide variety of clients who are testament to this response.

So how do we make it work? And how do we make sure that essential customer service skills transfer to the workplace, so that individuals feel confident to handle complaints?

It’s certainly more involved than the standard bullet point checklist:

  • Stay calm
  • Listen well
  • Acknowledge the problem
  • Get the facts
  • Offer a solution.

We believe it all starts by understanding behaviours – what really makes people tick. By understanding your own personal behavioural style and recognising behavioural traits in others, individuals can start to adjust their own style to nurture better outcomes with others. So when faced with a customer complaint, individuals are well equipped with the right skills to appreciate where their customer is coming from and what an appropriate approach would be. It means they are well placed to effectively manage the interaction both professionally and considerately, to reach the desired outcome, and importantly, avoid exacerbating the situation further.

The next key element is relevance – by building realistic, plausible scenarios, which accurately reflect the real workplace environment, individuals can engage far more effectively with the need for change and take ownership of their learning objectives. At RoleplayUK, we place great emphasis on getting to know the workplace, understanding the in-house jargon and developing a real feel for the behavioural relationships between teams and departments.

Of course the proof of the pudding in any training, is how individuals successfully transfer their learning back to the workplace. And this is where our expertise really comes into its own.

By providing an opportunity for individuals to practise, trial run conversations with a real person or directing a scene to a successful conclusion, individuals experience first-hand the impact of their choice of words, tone of voice and body language. It’s a unique opportunity to receive immediate developmental feedback of how you make other feel – like an emotional mirror to reflect the impact of your actions and provide personal guidance on what you can try to do differently.

Having the opportunity to test out approaches and stop, start and re-run conversations or scenes until you’re happy with the outcome, enables individuals to truly embed their learning and grow in confidence – it’s an incredibly effective way of helping individuals to overcome any personal barriers so they can put their new skills into practice straight away.

We offer a variety of drama-based techniques such as Forum Theatre, Realplay, as well as Roleplay to engage individuals with the need for change, explore options for improving personal skills and truly embed their learning through direct interaction with a professional roleplayer or skills coach.

You can get a better feel for how our Customer Service Training and Handling Complaints Programmes work here or take a look at how we’ve supported other clients in the past.


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