The Goal

The Manager of the Complaints Management Team wished to reduce the stress levels in his team. Stress was high because individuals were having to handle difficult conversations on a day-to-day basis without the tools to deal with them.

They were not getting the desired outcomes from their conversations often enough, which was increasing workloads and resulting in longer working days. As a way to avoid these conversations team members were emailing rather than calling both customers and colleagues, resulting in complaints taking longer to resolve — thereby frequently escalating the original problem.

With stress levels increasing, the Team Manager decided that a critical step in resolving the growing problem was to address both the Team’s willingness to handle tough conversations and their skill in doing so.

The Solution

With one of our highly-skilled Customer Service trainers at the helm, we initially rolled out a workshop and coaching programme for the Complaints Team.

Individuals first completed a one-day workshop which was immediately followed by individual coaching. The complete programme took place over consecutive days to build a high level of energy and momentum around implementing the techniques covered.

The workshop covered a range of tools for dealing with difficult conversations and was designed to build team members’ confidence as well as ability. It also covered influencing techniques for the team to employ with colleagues within the organisation so that they could get faster responses to requests for information and/or action from other staff.

The Results

Following this programme the Complaints Team:

  • were more willing to call customers rather than sending an email or letter
  • achieved significantly increased levels of satisfaction amongst customers
  • reduced the number of times they offered money to customers as reparation
  • got faster responses to requests, internally and externally

Overall stress levels were reduced as the team felt more confident and assured in dealing with difficult people and situations.

The Client’s View

“The programme was exactly what I had hoped for and more. I have already seen a marked improvement in emails and conversations as a direct result of the training. As the team start seeing the benefits for themselves, I am certain they will continue to use the tools you gave us.”

– Feedback immediately following the programme

Eighteen months later, the Team Manager reiterated the benefits achieved and told us that the positive results were continuing.