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Might your need to be better at handling complaints
be met by this London UK management training course
called Skills with People?

Yes if some of the following are true for you

  • I'd like to be able to turn customers' complaints into opportunities to build better relationships with customers. This would not only be very satisfying, it would also be very good for business.
  • I'd like to be able to handle complaints about me or my performance, i.e., personal criticism, without becoming defensive, and to turn these situations into opportunities to build better relationships.
  • But it's difficult handling complaints or criticism. What makes it difficult is the strong emotion that's always present. The complaining person often feels angry, let down, worried, frustrated. For my part I also feel worried, as well as guilty, attacked and sometimes resentful at the tone of the complaint.
  • I feel out of my depth when people get emotional. And I try to hide my own emotion.
  • So to be able to handle complaints confidently in a way that gets the best out of the situation I need to be better at handling emotion - my own as well as other people's.

What you'll take away from this course on how to handle complaints

This course will give you the skills and confidence to deal more successfully with emotionally difficult situations like handling complaints. In other words it will enable you to master the skills of emotional intelligence. With these skills you'll be able to turn complaints into opportunities to build better relationships with the people who are complaining.

Free exploratory coaching session

INTERESTED?

If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session. It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant to your own particular need.

How to accept this offer

Simply contact us for a preliminary chat and to arrange your free exploratory coaching session. 

What this session will do for you

In this session we'll aim to give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. All you need do to prepare for this session is think about the kinds of situations you want to be able to handle more successfully.

FAQs

You'll find answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course under FAQs (in the main menu above).

How the skills you'll practise on this course
will make you much more successful
at handling complaints

Why handling complaints is so difficult

There's one word for why handling complaints is so difficult, and that is emotion. As you know from personal experience, when emotions are aroused communication is difficult, relationships come under strain, people become irrational, and conflict and misunderstanding all too easily develops. 

Burried negative emotion is destructive, but talking about it openly makes it safe

Because of their experiences many people have developed a fear that emotion is difficult,  dangerous and can eaily get out of control. So they try to avoid, suppress or ignore it. But this gets them into difficulties when handling complaints. What they don't realise is that it's only when you try to burry it that negative emotion is destructive. By admitting it and talking openly about it you let off steam, get it off your chest, and it blows over safely.

How talking about feelings helps you handle complaints

Let's look through the eyes of someone making a complaint.

Imagine you recently bought a product or service because it was crucial to you, but now you can't use it because something's gone wrong with it. Unless you contact the supplier and complain the problem won't be fixed. But you've got quite enough on your plate without this, and so as well as being worried because you can't use what you bought, you're also annoyed and frustrated at having put all this energy into making a complaint. So when you pick up the phone to make the complaint your blood pressure's high and rising.

What does the complainer need from the person handling the complaint?

  • The very first thing they need is to be allowed to get their feelings off their chest so that they can let off steam and calm down. For this to happen they need to be taken seriously right away by someone who's listening to them with empathy. Your empathy allows them to express their feelings fully. It calms them down very fast. A lack of empathy from will wind them up and keep their blood pressure rising.
  • Once they've calmed down the next thing they need is specific reassurance. When, how and by whom will the problem be fixed? Customer liaison people often fail to spell this out because they assume the customer already knows they mean to look after them well. But at this moment when they feel you've just been seriously let down this is probably the wrong assumption to be making. 
  • Then, of course, they need them to do what you've said you'll do. If you do, their confidence in you will probably be grater than it was before the problem arose.
  • And finally, your relationship with them can only be further boosted if you check with them how satisfied they are with the way their complaint has been handled.

What skills do you need for handling complaints?

The two skills you need for handling complaints are listening with empathy and speaking assertively. They're the two crucial communication skills this course will help you master.

Listen with empathy

You need to be able to listen with empathy as your very first response when hearing a complaint. This response has several powerful advantages:

  • It's a very effective way of calming people down and winning their trust.
  • It enables you to be patient and receptive as you find out exactly what they're complaining about. It prevents you from jumping to false conclusions about what the problem is.
  • It helps them be clear in their own mind exactly what their problem or concern is. 

Speak assertively

Second you need to be able to speak assertively in order make them realise you're going to help them, and understand how you're going to do it.

Of course to handle complaints successfully, as well as dealing with the customer you'll probably also have to deal with the people within your organisation who need to be involved in fixing the problem. These two skills, assertiveness and empathy, will make you more successful and persuasive at handling these conversations, too.

Is there more information on this website
relevant to handling complaints?

Yes. You might also find our pages on, emotional intelligence and listening skills relevant and helpful.

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

Video Introduction

What People Have Said About The Course

Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Project Quality Engineer (self funding)

A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listen with empathy" / "speak assertively". Defin ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Senior Resource Consultant, Shell International

“Skills with People” has helped me deal with conflict situations.  It has helped me to diffuse tension in meetings and convert pushback into alignment ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Thank you from a participant

I wanted to let you know that I have secured a new role.  I had to go through an assessment centre and one challenge was to negotiate with a 'belliger ...

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EHS advisor (environmental health and safety), Johnson Matthey

This is the best non-techincal course the company has ever put me on because it's the most useful. 

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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The wife of a participant

"Just thinking about last night’s conversation and it’s bringing tears to my eyes – it’s what I’ve always wanted: to be able to talk with you like tha ...

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...

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