Customer Service: Dealing with challenging customers

It is inevitable that we will find some customers more difficult to work with than others This one day masterclass will explore how to manage personal reactions and stay professional in the most challenging of circumstances.


To develop strategies for upholding quality customer service in the face of challenging customer behaviour and attitudes


  • Explain the ethical and professional standards that underpin quality customer service
  • Identify situations where the standards of customer service are difficult to uphold
  • Evaluate a range of ineffective responses/ potential pitfalls
  • Develop the ability to manage personal reactions and stay professional
  • Diffuse anger and avoid escalation
  • Effectively challenge unacceptable behaviour
  • Close sessions with over-talkative customers

The programme is suitable for staff with a customer facing role

Overview of the day

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Customer Service Standards
  • The standards that underpin professional relationships
  • The relationship between personal beliefs and professional values
  • Understanding ‘valuing diversity’, ‘respect’, ‘anti-oppressive practice’
  • The challenges of staying professional
  • Problematic customer behaviour and attitudes
  • Problematic pitfalls
  • Aggressive and submissive responses
  • The drama triangle: avoiding trapdoors
  • Strategies for managing personal reactions
  • The assertive response
  • Diffusing rather than escalating anger
  • Understanding the customer
  • Perceptual positions
  • When enough is enough
  • Effective challenging
  • Dealing with talkative customers: closing the session

Delegate Evaluations 2014

‘splendid mixture of input, insight and small group discussion’.Library Services, Shetland

‘It would be great for more training like this so that we could all be working within the same framework towards clients and each other’. Moving on employment project, Shetland