Conflict management is a skill that everybody should learn. It is one of the intrinsic parts of one’s lifecycle. For leading a successful life - personal or professional, a person is bound to learn life skills, without which it would become quite difficult to manage things correctly. Conflict management skill comes at the top of the list of life skills. It is the ability of a person to de-escalate any situation caused by disagreement, dispute, or contradictory opinions.
During the process of solving a conflict, a person tries their best to turn over a common leaf where the respective parties can if not fully, come to an agreement that would be mutually beneficial at least for the sake of it.
When it comes to conflict management, there are no hard and fast rules that you can implement and immediately resolve everything. Today, we will be discussing some of the important factors that need to be considered before handling such situations.
Questions that need answering before Conflict Management
Asking questions is the surefire way to find solutions to intricate problems. It is the act of acceptance that you need enlightened about the hidden factors that are causing the problem. We are not asking you to start questioning the opposite party here. First, you will need to ask yourself a couple of questions so that you can modify your approach while dealing with the opposite party. Let us go check out the questions.
How much do you value the person?
Yes, you heard that right. When you are resolving a conflict, you will have your priorities and just like the opposite party. Since you both were not able to compromise on your priorities, the conflict emerged. So, here you will need to assimilate whether or not you are ready to compromise on your priorities for the other person or not.
If not fully, up to which extent you are going oblige to their demands and priorities. In order to contemplate this point, you need to ask yourself, whether the person is truly worth sacrificing your demands. A conflict can be based on a viewpoint, opinion, idea, asset, etc. Something is going to be at stake during the conflict.
The important question is, who will let go of their demands on the other person? During a conflict, there is one thing we can safely assume and that is, both parties are absolutely right in their own perception. But, you will need to know which one of you is making decisions on more virtuous grounds.
Are you aware of the consequences?
It is the next most important question. Once you decide to take a stand on your decision, you should be aware of the consequences that will follow, and the aftermath of your decision. You must rule out the worst-case scenarios. If you are aware of the negative outcomes, do you have a contingency plan for that? The outcome does not necessarily have to be negative, it could be positive too.
In that case, analyze the entire consequence and find out how it will affect your holistically considering the positive and negative aspects of it. Most people know the consequences but they do not take it very seriously because they underrate it. Sometimes consequences might seem trivial but in reality, they could be quite detrimental to you. The best advice would be to practically analyze your strengths and weakness before judging the outcomes.
Do you have enough time and energy to handle the conflict?
When you are dealing with a client or customer, it could be quite exhausting and it could take longer than expected. Ask yourself whether you would be able to handle the pressure for that long. In most cases, the ordeal can last for months. Given that situation, you must be ready to handle it or otherwise, you might want to consider other options. It usually occurs in appointment setting service when the agents are trying to negotiate the service.
When trying to make sales, you will be negotiating many terms about the service. Appointment-setting service agents are mostly in a dilemmatic situation, where they are unable to fulfill the customer’s demands but at the same time, they can’t afford to lose a prospective customer. Usually, some appointment setting services take their time to resolve it finally oblige to the customer’s request initially, and renegotiate in the next order.
Types of Conflict Management Styles
Yes, there are different ways or methods for handling conflicts. These techniques are developed by experts working in the fields of appointment-setting service or customer support service. It s all about working conscientiously with the situation. There is no room for emotional entanglement when you are dealing professionally. Generally, the customers or clients have a knack to bargain for services even if they find them quite satisfying.
Conflict management styles are not necessarily styles, they are the areas in which you are going to negotiate. When appointment-setting services are on the verge of making sales, they indicate to the customer the things they are ready to sacrifice for the sake of the customer and stick around that part. It is done in order to make the customer realize that the company is willing to compromise on certain areas for the sake of the customer.
Let us assume a situation where you are in a group and everyone is trying to come to a common viewpoint and make a decision that is disparate. Here, you are trying to give in to your demands for the sake of other people. It usually happens when the members of the group are interested in finding a solution that fulfilling their own demands. In that case, you can’t take a stance and demand that your needs be fulfilled.
Essentially, you are accepting the situation the way it is. You are practically analyzing the situation. The final decision must be made after considering that none of the members is getting the shorter end of the stick. Everyone should be equally benefitted or face an equal amount of loss. Here, you are essentially accepting the situation for the collective good of each member of the group.
It is a method of avoiding things because you know that the decisions will not have a major impact on you or anybody. There could be many reasons for postponing the conflict - the conflict could be trivial, or you may have no chance of winning the argument in the conflict. You may also think that pursuing that conflict is only going to waste your time and energy. Even if you win the conflict, it is not going to benefit you much.
Therefore, instead of pursuing the conflict or taking part in it, you simply sit back and observe, and make sense of it. It could also be a large conflict and other members involved in the conflict might have a lot of things at stake.
However, it has the least effect on you from every viewpoint. In those cases, it would be best if you only participate. Sometimes customer support service agents wait until the customer vents his frustration for an inconsequential thing.
This is the part where you make an attempt to find a solution that fits the purpose of everyone, at least partially if not fully. During the conflict, everyone must have shared their concerns and requirements.
After brainstorming each and every aspect of the argument, all the parties try to renegotiate on their terms and rule out the things that they can let go of, and things they can’t afford to compromise.
Appointment-setting service agents need to have good analytical skills to follow this method. Proper analysis is paramount because you may lose a lot more than you should while attempting a dialogue.
After thoroughly introspecting the perspectives of all the parties, you may find that all the parties have genuine requirements. From a virtuous point of view, the demands of all the parties may sound absolutely appropriate and right in every manner.
In that case, all the parties can join forces to meet the requirements of each and every stakeholder in the process. Here we are not negotiating for a middle ground. All the members will work cohesively to fulfill the demands of their fellow members.
The final solution should be rational enough and no one is displeased at the end of the day. Join collaboration usually occurs when each and every party plays an equally important role in a way that everyone is interdependent on one another.
The final conflict management style is where all the parties take a firm stance on their demand and beliefs and agree to disagree with everyone. Nobody is ready to negotiate the terms and conditions for the sake of others.
It usually occurs when you are trying to resolve an issue that has been prevailing for a long period of time and it is taking a huge toll on the ecosystem you are working upon. Since you have come to the conclusion that it needs to resolve before it becomes detrimental.
Essentially, we are trying to avert a major catastrophe here and that is why we decided to disregard the viewpoints of other members and insist everyone board with you on the same boat. You are basically pursuing a more virtuous cause.
How to Handle Irate Customers? Through Example
We are going to assume a hypothetical situation in which a customer has approached the customer support service of your company. The customer has initiated the call and he is asking for a refund for the service. Now the problem is, the customer is way past the one-month policy, almost by a year. As per policy, customers are entitled to a refund only if they apply for a refund within a month after rendering the service.
The customer is visiting the customer support service after a year. Now being a customer representative, the agent needs to stick to the company’s policy. However, the customer is irate and relentless in his approach. While handling the call, you can disconnect it until a proper resolution is given. Conversely, there are other customers waiting in queue for getting assistance. Now the representative is in a dilemmatic situation.
By not attending the calls of the queued customers, there will be a loss in business anyway. Therefore, the best-case scenario would be bending the rules for an instance and providing the refund as the customer demands. This way you have gained retained the customer and did not miss the window of opportunity with prospective customers. Here, we have used an accommodating conflict management style for finding a resolution.
Eminent business process outsourcing agencies are implementing conflict management skill training for their call center service agents so that they could find immediate resolutions for the customers easily. By following all the tips and techniques from above, one can easily comprehend the conflicting situation and rule out the possible resolutions without leaving any loose ends.