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We are going to look at potential Reasons, Causes and Triggers, and then include the Inhibitions that stop individual’s getting violent or aggressive.

One of the main factors that need to be recognised when understanding and managing conflict is that all conflict has a reason, cause and or a trigger and if they’re not addressed properly, it can lead to a potentially unsafe or dangerous situation.

We need to first find out what has caused the individual to escalate or act in the manner that they are. Was the individual unable to get through on phone? not having calls returned? being kept waiting? confronted by rude and unhelpful staff? given conflicting information? This by no means is an exhaustive list but it gives you an indication of the many causes that can occur.

Our reactions to a complaining customer can either de-escalate the situation or cause the situation to become unmanageable, remember the attitude cycle. Also, remember you are the face of the company so when a person complains you should create a good first impression – this can be positive behaviour (such as smiling and good communication) demonstrate a helpful Attitude and recognise your customer’s expectation – they want to be heard and listened to!

You may be the next point of contact after a negative experience, for example; they may have received previous poor customer service on the phone. Make sure you are ready to explain the company agreements and why the decision was made. If the customer understands company processes or rules, most people can accept the reasoning behind them.

The approach you need to take if you are dealing with someone who is clearly disappointed with the service they have received is to stay calm, assess the situation continuously, stay safe, know where help is and also know where your exit is if needed.