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Why you should train your staff in complaint handling

Complaints management is a skill and a process that melds different learnings from psychology, behavioural economics, law, management theory and sociology. Training your staff to effectively manage difficult complaints and high-conflict parties is an important way to improve customer or client experience at your business or organisation.

Did you know we can train your team to better handle complaints? Last week, Shiv Martin, of Conflict Services, delivered a two day intensive workshop on complaints handling and negotiations skills to local government planning officers from a range of different Councils.

Topics covered included:

· Different approaches to conflict

· Negotiations skills

· Building rapport

· Dealing with unreasonable conduct

· Procedural fairness

· Dispute resolution; and

· Case studies and Group activities.

Training staff in how to identify different approaches to conflict/disagreement can help facilitate early resolution of complaints. Customers and clients might be looking for a ‘win’ but while conflict cannot always be resolved, it can be managed. With the right tools, your staff will be able to strengthen client relationships, gain richer perspectives, increase trust and avoid generating future sources of conflict.

Negotiation is central to any kind of problem solving and dispute resolution. We demonstrate basic negotiation tactics to help you staff quickly resolve disagreements in a positive way. We discuss the positive and negatives of different styles of negotiation and teach your staff how to ask the right questions in a discussion to uncover the other party’s interests. If your staff reach an impasse with a client or customer do they know how to move past it? Do your staff know how to explore alternatives in a discussion?

Building rapport is an essential part of resolving conflict. Certain statements can escalate conflict rather than acknowledging or resolving conflict. We consider different methods for communicating and listening effectively to establish rapport and provide your staff with examples where this works well and where it doesn’t.

Complaints are opportunities for change, and a way to review and improve your systems, processes and outcomes. We can train your staff in how to effectively assess a complaint and reframe it for learnings using their knowledge of your organisation. Contact us today to learn more.

Shiv Martin of Conflict Services conducts workshops with government and non-government organisations experiencing high-conflict clients or customers to assist teams to achieve better results together. Contact:

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