Closing Practice Exercise: Dealing With Angry Customers

Brief Description/Purpose

Closing exercise I've often used in my defusing hostile customers seminars. Attendees get to respond to some specific dialogues or scenarios that tie into the skills we have learned. 


Closing exercise, dialogue analysis

Age Appropriate

Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

Any size since it's done by calling on individuals. I often use this and go around the room person by person, asking several people for answers for each case or scenario. If you do it that way, the group should be less than 20 people.

Time For Exercise

30 minutes to 60 minutes


Closing exercise, angry customers

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Prepare a number of scenarios as shown below. Include them in the handout or circulate them now.

Allow each person about 10 minutes to complete the tasks. If it's a large group, assign only some of the scenarios so that each person is only working on three or four.


On the next pages you will find some verbal responses to hostile customers or members of the public. Your task is to identify which ones are likely to defuse and calm the other person down, and which ones are likely to cause escalation.

For each item (or as instructed by facilitator)

  • indicate whether the employee’s response is likely to escalate or de-escalate the hostile situation. 
  • Indicate the reasons for your choice
  • suggest a better or alternate response
  • When you are done, your group will be asked to report your conclusions, so you may want to choose a spokesperson. (if this is done in groups).


Go around the room, ensuring each person gets to answer for at least one scenario. If in groups, same thing.

Review findings and identify where people should sharpen their skills after the course.

Ideally you should tie this exercise in to an action play where each person identifies where they need to improve still, and how they will go about it.

Additional Information if Available

Below is a page from the learning package I use. It will help you see how to create your own.