How Did They Handle Conflicts?

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Sometimes employees have to deal with a particular type of conflict that can come up in the workplace:

The customer believes he is entitled to something but company policy does not permit it.

  • Here’s an example: 

    Sally has a coupon that expired yesterday. She says, “I wanted to come in yesterday, but my baby wasn’t feeling well and I stayed home to take care of him. This is the soonest I could come in and I’d really like to take advantage of the savings the coupon offers.” 

    And she’s looking at the clerk with those big blue, pleading eyes.

    Company policy is very clear: no coupons are honored beyond the expiration date. The owner of the company isn’t on the premises and has asked not to be called unless it’s super important. 

    What to do?

    This is an interesting dilemma and is also a fruitful area to discuss during the hiring interview. You could even use the example above and ask what s/he would do in this instance.

    You could ask the applicant to recall a couple of different situations where this type of “conflict” occurred and how they handled it.

    Of course the applicant’s responses will likely be tempered by your views on this kind of thing. Do you feel the “company line” should be adhered to in all circumstances? Or do you feel your staff member should use good judgement to ensure the customer is well serviced? 

    Either way, the answers you get on this will help you gain insight into your prospective employee.



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