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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

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Handling Difficult Customers


Hello all!

I'm putting together a module for a call centre focussing on handling difficult customers and dealing with complaints.

Has anyone come across any good exercises I could use on the subject?

Particularly around listening skills.



6 Responses

  1. Customers

    Hi -we have some free resources that we have used in both our training courses AND on certain customers(lol)

    Drop me a line at


     QED Training

  2. “a complaint is a gift”

    I’d strongly recommend that you give people some of this….it puts them in the right frame of mind to both listen and then act appropriately when dealing with complaints.


  3. Thanks chaps!

    Some great stuff here!

    Much appreciated guys and thanks to Dominic at QED for emailing over some excellent ideas.

    And thank you Bryan, that’s just the sort of thing I’m after!



  4. Listening Exercise

    You could read out 1 statement to the group (could make it a bit fun to keep the training light hearted) and explain that at the end they have to recall and note down what it was that you asked them to do. They cannot make notes during your instructions or ask any questions, they simply have to listen and then when instructed to do so note down what you said. Ask them to then read their statement back to the group and you will find that they will have struggled to recall all of the information and perhaps even get some of it wrong.

    Ask the group then what would have made that task easier? (looking for note taking and ask questions to clarify what was said).

    Repeat the exercise again with another statemement but this time the group can ask questions and make notes during the reading of the statement. You should see a real improvement in the information that the learners have retained.

    This exercise demonstrates the imortance of active listening which is a really useful tool in any call centre environment.

    It also works really to remind the learners that they are also customers of many companies and that at some point they will have complained. Ask them what upsets them as a customer and how they like their complaint to be handled. This can then be related back to thier role and serve as a toolkit for complaint handling.


    Hope this helps

  5. My tips

    Hi, some call centre/customer service training tips which have worked for us:

    – Use free online tools. There are lots of bideos on YouTube for call centre training. This helps to make training sessions more interactive and engaging. Keep a mix of humourous/fun clips such as ‘top call centre disasters’ to more serious videos such as examples of customer service techniques. I find these videos to be great discussion starters and helps to engage the trainees.

    – Who is doing the training? I often find that using your top agents to carry out the training sessions rather than supervisors and managers really helps.

    – Individual training – Although of course this is more time consuming than group sessions, your agents have different skills and personalities and your training should try to reflect this.

    Training feedback – how about using a training feedback form, end of training quiz to evaluate the training session

    Hope some of this is of use.


    alldayPA Call Centre

  6. Role plays and case studies

    Hi Jim

    We have some free trainer resources built around call handling – from a ‘general scenario’ caller brief to some specific role plays written for a major DIY tools manufacturer that can be adapted to fit different product/service scenarios. There are also some case studies around dealing with irate callers. Feel free to download and adapt. Find the resources at Hope that helps


Author Profile Picture
James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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