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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

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Confidence when meeting customers!


Hi All

I've recently been asked to design a half day workshop for staff moving into a new building.

They are used to interviewing customers on some quite sensitive issues in very formal meeting rooms. Now they will be required to complete these interviews in "meeting pods" in a large open plan office.

Their manager is worried they will feel exposed and lose confidence when discussing issues with customers. The customers may also feel a little vulnerable too.

It's quite a niche topic. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what a session like this might include?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance,


2 Responses

  1. Hi neverchair, I haven’t had
    Hi neverchair, I haven’t had experience of this with customers but do with staff where we moved from meeting rooms to meeting pods. The good news is that people soon become used to new circumstances even if they are initially sceptical.
    I do have some thoughts on this. So, to make your customers feel comfortable, it’s not just about what the individual does first of all. It’s about the entire experience; that includes how welcoming the office looks and how the customers are treated from the get go. The office environment should be welcoming and warm plus if they are greeted by a receptionist, they should be friendly and welcoming.
    Individuals also need to test how much they can be heard in neighbouring pods – I know I talk really loudly, so I know I need to dial-down my volume if I am meeting in a pod.
    In terms of what the people can practically do, I would say don’t just launch into the confidential discussion, build some rapport and settle any nerves the customer has. Be genuinely interested in them, explain clearly what will happen, ask how the customer feels and listen carefully to what they say. If the worker is engaging and focusses just on the customer, they will both soon forget about the environment and just immerse themselves in the conversation. To do that, the experience shouldn’t seem like a tick-box exercise, focussed on completing paper-work but something that’s focussed on having a genuine conversation.

    So, the training session should be about getting the workers to invest in genuine conversations. Also, we used to send people out to do some mystery shopping on other orgs and get the individuals to come back and report what other companies do good or bad. So, just as an example, you might send people into banks or other orgs were you are having confidential conversations and see what that experience is like and how they handle it.

    Hope that helps.

    1. sorry, also meant to say, the
      sorry, also meant to say, the term ‘interview’ also automatically gets people on edge – change the language to something more customer friendly.

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James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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