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Customer Service: Excuses Vs. Explanations

 Description/Purpose

The learning point in this customer service related exercise is that often, offering up explanations about why you can't meet what the customer wants, comes out sounding like an excuse.

Type

Demonstration

Age Appropriate

Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

10 people on up

Time For Exercise

15-20 minutes

Topic/Subject

Customer service, Communication

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Demonstration Version

There are several ways to do this exercise. This variation involves doing a mini-role play with a volunteer from the class.

  1. Ask for a volunteer from the group who likes to be dramatic, and who will play the spouse of someone who is late meeting him/her at a movie, and who is angry.
  2. You will play the "late" spouse.
  3. Instruct the volunteer to express his or her anger at having to wait for 30 minutes and missing the movie.
  4. Respond by trying to EXPLAIN why you were late, and that it was unavoidable, and caused by someone else. (Have the volunteer respond).
  5. Continue the dialogue for about a minute or so.

Debrief

  • Thank the volunteer and ask the class: So, what did you observe in this dialogue? Was it familiar from both your personal life and your customer service job?
  • In particular, how did each of the spouses come across to the other? From each's perspective?
  • With what you heard from the "late" spouse, what sounded like excuses? What sounded like explanation?
  • When explaining something to a customer, how can you help make it sound like an explanation, rather than an excuse?

Additional Information if Available

You can do this exercise in a number of ways. You can do it as a dialogue analysis, where you supply a script, or you can present a scenario to small groups or individuals that involve them in drafting a response, explaining why the customer's needs can't be met.

See Also:

Dialogue Analysis In Customer Service Training: Alternative To Role Plays

Customer Service: Offering Options, Not Negativity