Handling conflict

There are many times that any person will have to handle conflict in their life. In business it is important to handle conflict with care to ensure that it does not impact the running of the company. I believe that I handle conflict well, and this can be seen in the way I act when I am at work. I have always worked in the retail sector which involves me dealing with customers both nice and awkward. I have good experience with customer service which enabled me to improve my skills at handling conflict with complaining customers.

There were many tips I was given to handle conflict well, including the following – * Think about the situation. Instead of instinctively responding when someone says what we don't like I take my time to think about what will reduce conflict and solve the situation in a more diplomatic manner. * Make the decision as to how you want the conflict to end. Sometimes it does not always end amicably and can result in it not being solved and the customer in my case not being happy.

If they are in the wrong then you just have to end the situation in the best way possible so that the conflict is kept at a minimum. * Apologising is sometimes necessary, there were times in my job that I was in the wrong and as an ambassador for the company, the customer should see the company in the best light possible and therefore it is vital to say sorry to the customer if it is necessary. I had to realise that in the conflict it is not always me in the right and that I had to back down sometimes but facing confrontational situations is not always easy.

There are two examples as to when I have used these strategies for handling conflict when I was working in both BHS and now in my current job at Cineworld cinemas. Firstly when working on the customer service desk, my job involved me dealing with customer complaints and also authorising returns and exchanges. Conflict arose when I suspected someone was returning stolen items. I had seen the lady take the items before hand and now she was trying to return them.

I could not accuse her directly so I had to be careful of how I handled the situation. Instead of telling her that I knew she had stolen them I told her that an exchange would not be possible as she had no receipt. When she became angry at this I gave her an alternative option of finding the receipt at home, this allows for me to prove they were stolen but indirectly and without angering her. I had to think about what I was going to say and not accuse her of something I could not prove.

By doing this I didn't anger the customer and she went on to be caught trying to walk out of the shops with the items after being caught on CCTV taking them beforehand. My second conflict arose in my current job. This entails me selling tickets to see screenings of many different age rated films and it is therefore my job to ask for id. Once I pose the question to see ID I need to see it and cannot take the word of anyone else for example family. I had one particular family who wanted to see an 18 rated film, all of the party were over 18 except one which I predicted to be underage.

I therefore asked for id to no avail but the mother was not happy with me not allowing her to vouch for their age. The end situation was always going to be me not allowing the customer to see the film and therefore I had to make this end the best way possible. I did this by again offering an alternative of an id card which the customer could use next time if they bought along their passport too at the time of issuing the ID card which was free of charge; this pleased the customer and therefore reduced the conflict.

I believe I handled these situations well however there are always aspects that I can improve on. For example the language that I used for both situations was quite colloquial and not very businesslike, which could make the conflict worse because they would not see me as a threat or listen to me with respect. Therefore if I act in a more professional manner whilst handling the conflict it could help the conflict be resolved in a quicker timeframe. Someone with a disability – I experienced conflict with a disabled customer in the cinema.

They are allowed a carer free but this customer wanted their whole party of 7 to be admitted free. This was not possible which I informed the customer, this resulted in the customer becoming upset. They started telling me how hard their life was which was awkward for me and still did not change the situation. I found this hard and failed to handle it and asked a supervisor to deal with it when I should have been confident enough in my skills to be able to say no to the customer in the best possible way no matter how they react.

In future I would not let it get to that situation and inform the customer straight away where they stand to avoid conflict in the first place. Someone in a position of power greater than your own – in one of my jobs I had a co-worker who was in the same job role as me and went on to be promoted to a supervisor and therefore give them more power. The supervisor role however was not connected to my department and therefore didn't involve that person having any reason to deal with me.

However this was not the case and the employee took the job to the extreme and constantly bossed me around. I got fed up of this and confronted them about it. We had an in-depth conversation about everything and the conflict was resolved when we both told each other our grievances, however we did this in the wrong way and had the whole affair on the shop floor in front of customers which is not professional or good for company image. Whilst the conflict was resolved it would have been much more effective to do it behind doors.