Learn to deal with hostile and angry and difficult customersExamples of the Exercises Included in the Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook

The Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook can be used with or without doing the exercises contained in it, but it's best to take the time to do them. Each chapter has a set of exercises, and space to write responses. At the back of the book, the answers (or possible right answers) are included.

While this isn't a complete replacement for attending training, the exercises approximate the thinking that one learns in the process of developing skills to deal with difficult and angry customers.

On this page you'll see the exercises for Chapter 2, and if you click on the link at the bottom of the page you can see an example of the answers provided at the back of the book.

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Chapter II Exercises & Assignments

Practice Exercises

2.1 Bait Identification

Below are some common things that hostile customers say to government employees. For each item determine whether it contains "bait", and explain what the customer is really saying to the employee. (the implied messages). Check your answers with the answers at the back of the book (Appendix A). Remember, you DON'T want to take the bait and get hooked.

2.1.1 I want to speak to someone who knows what they are doing. Is there a man I can speak to?

Your Answers Go Here

2.1.2 I don't know what to do next. I have to feed my family, and can't hardly put food on the table now.

Your Answers Go Here

2.1.3 Look, if you reduce my cheque, my kids are going to starve, and it's going to be your fault.

Your Answers Go Here

2.1.4 I want your supervisor's number, so I can call to clarify to make sure you are correct

Your Answers Go Here

2.1.5 How can you say that, don't you know your own laws? We'll see who is right give me your supervisor's number.

Your Answers Go Here

2.2 What's Wrong With This Picture

Take a look at the following dialogues. Indicate whether you feel the employee's response is effective or not (i.e.. would it defuse the situation). Explain why and compare your answers with the ones in Appendix A.


Customer: "Look, if you reduce my cheque, my kids are going to starve, and it's going to be your fault.

Employee: "There's nothing I can do about that, so you will have to figure out what to do, I guess ".

Your Answers Go Here


Customer: Look, if you reduce my cheque, my kids are going to starve, and it's going to be your fault.

Employee: I can tell you're upset about this situation, and I will do my best to help you out. Would you like me to suggest some alternatives for you?"

Your Answers Go Here


Customer: I want your supervisor's number so / can call to clarify to make sure you are correct.

Employee: She's just going to say exactly what I just said. If you want to waste your time, go ahead.

Your Answers Go Here

2.3 Job Work

2.3.1 Tomorrow at work, observe people interacting. Identify any phrases or actions that appear to contribute to the escalation cycle. Write them down.

Escalating Actions I observed:

Your Answers Go Here

2.3.2 After your next interaction with a hostile customer, take a few moments to answer the

following questions:

Did I take the bait?_______________________________________________________

Did I do anything to contribute to the escalation cycle? (Describe).

Your Answers Go Here

At any point, did I act defensively or counterattack? (How?)

Your Answers Go Here

If I could do it over again, what would I do differently?

Your Answers Go Here

2.4 Food For Thought

2.4.1 Child/Adult Hostility Similarities

Over the next few days, observe hostile and angry people around you. Pay attention to the ways that adults express their hostility and anger. What similarities do you find between the way adults express their anger, and the way children do? When you are angry, what ways do your own behaviors resemble those of an angry child?

2.4.2 Playing The Hostile Game

Using your past experiences, identify very specific ways you have played the hostile game on the ATTACKER'S TURF, and by the attacker's rules. What happened? What would you do differently?

Want to see the sample answers for these Defusing Hostile Customers Exercises? Click here.

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Special Help: Prevent and Master Angry and Difficult Customers

Don't let difficult, angry customers control you. Learn to take control, stay cool, and remain professional in the toughest situations

Reviewer Praise From Amazon Readers

Bacal nails it! While more are messing with the entanglements of Customer Satisfaction which leads to no where...he addresses the specifics head on and focuses on the greater picture and ultimate goal of the Customer Experience which leads to Loyalty. Excellent job! (Macy in Oklahoma, 2013)

One of the best things I learned from this book is how to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Using the tools from this gem of a book I have calmed people down, turned bad situations into good, and kept customers who would have otherwise left us and written ten nasty reviews in their wake. It is so empowering to be able to do that, rather than feel awful and abused. This is a must buy, must read for people who work with customers day in and day out. Do it for your own sanity, and to help improve your own job performance and satisfaction! (E. Meehan, California, 2012)

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