Managing Difficult Customers

Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS)

Course introduction

As service providers, we sometime find ourselves facing or handling "difficult customers". When we have to deliver "bad news", say "no" to customers or to people in power, we're often tempted to placate with a "yes". It is indeed a challenge trying to balance the need to be service-oriented and the need to deliver difficult messages to our customers.

Course Pre-Requisites

  • Identify what causes customers to be demanding or difficult and the consequences
  • Recognise and manage your own responses
  • Develop strategies for managing different types of difficult customers
  • Gain confidence in handling customers appropriately
  • Develop communication skills on empathetic listening, defusing conflict/anger, speaking assertively

Target Audience

This highly participative course is designed for anyone who has regular customer contact (face to face or over the telephone) and wants to develop their skills in delivering great customer service.

Course Outline

The Problem Tree Activity: Defining Difficult Customers

  • Who are Difficult?
  • What makes your Customers Difficult?
  • Differentiating between Upset Customers and Difficult Customers
Understanding Different Communication Channels and Their Effect
  • Face-to-face Interaction
  • On the Telephone
Assertive Communication
  • Ways of relating to others: being passive, assertive and aggressive
  • Goal of Assertive Communication
  • Benefits of Assertive Communication
  • Assertive Self-Assessment
  • Types of Assertion
  • Assertive Communication Skills
Strategies for Handling Dissatisfaction
  • Understanding the nature of Customers’ Problems and Emotions
  • Managing Our Own Responses
Communicating confidently and calmly, under pressure and saying things in the right way
  • Listening and Responding with Empathy
  • Avoiding certain Triggering Words
  • Defusing Phrases & The Art of Saying No
Managing the Extremes
  • When and how to address what is unacceptable
Recharging Yourself
  • Dealing with your own feelings (anger, frustrations and residue of that) after having one difficult encounter before facing the next tricky situation with a clean slate
  • Exploring how our feelings influence our assumptions, where we make things up and then act as though what we made up is true

Available Course Sessions

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Trainer Profile

Samantha Sim

Samantha Sim is an effective trainer with a solid background in modern training techniques and concepts. She exercises competence in customer service, teambuilding, creativity, personal effectiveness and image management. She has provided training and consultancy to business professionals, corporations and government agencies. Partial list of clients include Jet Airways (India), Air Mauritius, Bosch, Performance Motors Ltd, Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Sumitomo
Corporations, Singapore Power Ltd, SingHealth, Starbucks, Shook Lin & Bok (Law Firm), ST Aerospace, The Planet Traveller, The Wright Gift, CISCO and Ministry of Education. Her spirited and innovative approach to training is filled with ideas and skills that not only makes learning fun and exciting, but also transforms human differences into core assets. As a facilitator, she has developed her own signature program "Service Race", an experiential approach to address service issues and implement service improvements for her clients. In her previous appointment with Singapore Airlines (SIA), Samantha was responsible for professionalising a team of 800 cabin crew members committed to SIA Cabin Crew Training Vision of developing service professionals of distinction within a learning culture. Drawing upon ten years of multicultural experience in the airline industry, she continues to innovate and improve, offering consultancy and training in areas on Customer Service, Personal Effectiveness and Business Etiquette.
She is a B.A. graduate coupled with a M.A. from National University of Singapore. She is also a Certified Behavioural Consultant and a Qualified Colour Consultant.