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Customer Service: Offering Options, Not Negativity

Brief Description/Purpose

To highlight the importance of, and how to offer positive alternatives to angry customers focusing on what the employee can DO rather than not do.


Whole Gropu Exercise

Age Appropriate

Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

8-20 people

Time For Exercise

30 minutes


Angry Customers, Difficult Customers, Customer Service

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Have participants stand (or sit) in a circle if possible. Instruct each person that they will ask another person for something that he or she cannot say yes to.

The respondent then must come up with a positive response, and NOT an excuse. Their responses should focus on possible alternatives or things the respondent can do for the "customer". 

The exercise often engenders laughter because some of the questions can be amusing (i.e. I'd like your underwear).

Debrief by discussing the importance of responding positively to even the more outlandish requests from customers, and that customers get angrier when faced with flat refusals.

You can have participants share some of the craziest requests they have received, and how they dealt with them, and how they could have improved their responses.

Work through several real world examples the class comes up with.