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Want Better Work Team Conflict Management? Begin by Assessing “Conflict Climate” Online

 

Dr Michael DuesWhy do old, dysfunctional patterns for handling conflict re-emerge and persist in the workplace, even after providing training, policies or procedures for resolving differences constructively? This vexing phenomenon—a return to the status quo–plagues conflict professionals and team leaders alike. The main culprit is not individuals clashing; instead it is the team’s culture—the social environment—which sets communication patterns and strongly influences how members behave when they encounter conflict. But how do we get a handle on conflict at the work team level? First we need to concretely assess a team’s “conflict climate” and then take steps to improve aspects of the climate that are negatively influencing members’ conflict behavior. In this program Michael Dues will discuss a powerful online instrument for diagnosing conflict climate in the workplace. He will describe what it measures, how it can guide interventions to gain long term, sustainable improvement in conflict management, and why it is especially useful to use an online survey for this purpose.

Curiosity: “Culture” and “climate” are vague, intangible concepts. How do we make them concrete enough to measure and improve?

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The Battle Between Customer and Customer Service- How to Increase Your Chances for Resolution!

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Have you ever been in a situation where you bought a product, and when you went to use it, it did not work? Or it was missing a part? Then when you tried to complain you found yourself on hold, or talking to a customer service representative who does not have the authority to resolve the issue? Or worse you never received a response at all? Customers are left feeling angry and helpless in these situations. So what can a customer do to get their complaint acknowledged and resolved?

Before you call or email the company, you must first remember to remain calm. You, as the client, are less likely to resolve your complaint if you begin yelling at the customer service representative or using all caps in an email. Regina Lewis from USA Today suggests, “Be business-like and think of yourself in the third person, almost like you are handling a matter on behalf of someone else.” By remaining business-like, you take the emotion out of the problem and address the issue at hand.

Another step suggested by Tom Barlow a contributor for Forbes is to “think through what outcome will make you happy: a refund? A replacement? An apology? An upgrade? And get your facts straight: Know your rights by reviewing warranties and the policies of the company in question”. Before filing a complaint, it is important to recognize what you can realistically achieve so that you can resolve it successfully. If you have unrealistic expectations then you are most likely not going to reach the results you want.

Once you call, what should you do if the customer service representative does not have the authority to provide a resolution? Tom Barlow advises, “ If you aren’t getting anywhere with the phone rep, escalate: Ask to talk to a supervisor, and keep on reaching up the chain until you’re put in touch with someone with the power to grant your request.” It is essential to speak with someone who has the decision- making authority to resolve the issue. Businesses do not want to risk losing you as a customer. One dissatisfied customer could share their negative experience with others, which could be harmful to the company. For this reason, resolution is best for all parties involved.

If you have escalated your issue to someone with authority and still are not receiving results, there are other options available to you. The Internet has become a great place to voice dissatisfaction, and if done properly, you can see results. Kimberly Palmer, a senior editor for U.S. News Money, explains “the general public can be a receptive audience, especially when you are complaining about a common cause.” To complain properly using online forums you must post something that will elicit a response from the company, this does not mean slandering the company. If you are posting negative comments, you are less likely to see your goals met. It could also backfire and make YOU appear immature or irrational.

There are additional outlets available for you and other customers filing complaints other than the Internet. One organization that was previously featured on The Texas Conflict Coach is the Council of Better Business Bureau. The BBB is a company that focuses on building an improved connection between companies and purchasers. Kimberly Palmer suggests the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which “makes complaints public in a database, so customers can easily search to see if other people have faced similar problems and how those problems were resolved”. These organizations act as supporters for the client who is not being heard and can assist in getting an issue fixed.

Finally, remember to say “thank you”, to anyone who assists you in getting your problem solved. As pointed out by Regina Lewis, a simple “thank you” is often overlooked, but could have an impact on getting your complaint resolved quickly.

Abigail Clark

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore –

Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

 

 

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