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Conflict Management or Customer Care?

Have you ever thought why some customers are friendly, some are unfriendly, some are interesting and some are exceptionally dull. Well the answer is they are all complex people, they live with all of the pressures of modern life, family, debt, work or the lack of it and they all have their good days and of course their bad days. As a licensed retailer it is our job to ensure that whatever mood our customers arrive in, they leave feeling that they have enjoyed their visit and want to return. In the words of the theme from Cheers “Sometimes you want to go, Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came; You want to be where you can see, Our troubles are all the same”. A little corny you may think but in essence this is what people young and old are looking for, to be made welcome and have a great social experience. Invariably that is what we all set out to provide for our guests but how and why does it occasionally go wrong? And what is the best way to deal with customers expectations not being met when it all goes a little “pear shaped”?

Thoughtfully trained staff are the key to the customers experience and whilst most of us are aware of this, it is surprising how many staff are either so over trained in the products being sold that they turn into robots who seem to view guests as cattle or so under trained that they have to make it up as they go along. I am sure we all know venues where these strategies exist and still seem to make money but neither method is of any help when things go wrong and customers get annoyed or angry.

A good staff training strategy should start and end with the customer as they are the reason the industry exists and without them we go bust. Staff need to be trained to be proactive in service delivery from the moment the customer arrives using such antiquated phrases as “hello how are you” , “I’ll be with you in one moment” and the use of a smile never goes a miss either.

I am obviously over simplifying customer service but these little things make all the difference to being able to deal with people, if at some point later in their visit the customer is unhappy about something and is looking to share their opinion. They are far less likely to be aggressive about their situation if they have been made to feel welcome when they arrived and have been treated as a valued customer by the happy, courteous staff. Not rocket science I agree but I am always amazed as to why staff who have not exchanged a word with a customer up until they have to deal with a complaint expect anything but antipathy from the customer.

Over the past 12 years Innpacked has delivered thousands of qualifications to the licensed trade but in my humble opinion the most valuable course we deliver to staff is our Conflict Management course. At the mention of Conflict Management most people seem to think it will involve showing staff how to throw out trouble makers using secret body pressure points or disarming an angry stag party with only a banana for protection. This could not be further from the truth! Conflict management is about being proactive and aware of customers and how they are enjoying their evening. It’s about ensuring that conflict never takes place by dealing with issues long before they start and using great customer care as a weapon. We deliver our conflict management course in conjunction with the BIIAB Award for Responsible Alcohol Retail in a one day training package which allows us to make conflict management relevant to serving staff.

If you would like to discuss this course or any of the many other training packages that Innpacked deliver please contact me Ian Crockard on 08000 786 056
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