Training front-line employees to resolve customer conflict

Talking about de-escalation with the president of the Crisis Prevention Institute
Nkongho Beteck
Manager, Social Media and Digital Content
November 3, 2020
Retail Gets Real is sponsored by

The world is in a heightened state of anxiety, and with conflicts around health and safety likely to escalate as we head into the holiday season, the NRF Foundation recently released training credentials in Retail Operations and Customer Conflict Prevention to arm front-line employees with the skills they need to better manage health and safety and resolve customer conflicts.

The Customer Conflict Prevention training, in partnership with the Crisis Prevention Institute, educates customer-facing retail employees on how to identify signs of conflict, minimize risks and effectively de-escalate if needed.

Susan Driscoll, president of the Crisis Prevention Institute, says training at CPI is built on a preventative four-part framework to identify anxiety and defensiveness, gauge risk behavior and reduce tension.

Behavior influences behavior, and effective de-escalation requires intention in the moment, accepting that you cannot control someone else, but you can control your actions. If you respond appropriately, the other person might help you in de-escalation.

It’s also important to isolate the individual from the situation at hand. “You have to understand first that there is distress and respond as you would to any distressed person,” Driscoll says. “So, we challenge workers or any staff member, look at this person through a different lens. They can be attacking, but look at them as a distressed person.”

Listen to the podcast for more tips in effective de-escalation, and don’t forget to sign your team up for Customer Conflict Prevention training.

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