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Difficult Receptionist Situations


Handling Difficult Customers

Front line Receptionists will encounter difficult customers, from time to time, on the telephone and face to face. The manner in which the receptionist handles this encounter will affect the turnaround of the issue and the level of satisfaction from the customer.


Taking Control of Difficult Situations

Every receptionist should take control of a situation to achieve a timely outcome that benefits the organisation and the customer. Attitude is a very important factor when dealing with difficult customers because the reactions of the receptionist will affect the counter reactions of the customer.


People find it very hard to control their reactions in difficult situations because they tend to take criticism personal, even if the criticism is not aimed directly at them. This common mistake and lack of professionalism leads to millions of customers each year feeling dissatisfied with the level of service they have received when attempting to resolve their issue.


Receptionists must learn to control their emotions and understand the customer’s point of view before they jump to conclusions and ruin any chances of a positive outcome. While personalities of receptionists cannot be changed, their attitudes and skills can be improved.




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  • Communication & Multi-tasking
  • Handling Difficult Situations



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Ffind a Resolution for the Customer

Customers very often think their issue will not be resolved unless they shout, scream and threaten the representative of the organisation. These unfortunate actions are now commonly used due to decades upon decades of poor commitment and a lack of interest from organisations and representatives when dealing with customer’s issues. Customers just want solutions to their issue. They want to receive understanding from the representative and feel valued by the organisation. There is so much opportunity for organisations and receptionists to overcome customer’s issues and turn them in to loyal customers for the future.


Creating Challenging Customers

In our personal life we are pretty good at establishing if someone is easy to get along with and fun to be around, which is all very well because we have the freedom to pick and choose who we want to speak to. If we don’t like someone due to their attitude or personality, we can simply choose not to speak with them - END OF STORY. (If only we could do that with difficult customers).


Difficult Customer Traits Include

Angry, frustrated, rude, complaining, impatient, stressed, frightened and upset
Strong personalities and customers with attitudes, Lack of interpersonal skills, Refusing to accept information provided, Struggle to make decisions, Openly hostile, Language Barriers, Talkative people. Whilst striving to provide the best possible service, we must be aware of our own communication style and attitude towards the customer - for the following reason:




The manner in which we approach and communicate will influence the way in which our customers communicate with us. Does this mean that WE can be directly responsible for a customer who is difficult, challenging or uncooperative? - ABSOLUTLEY!




Customer’s emotions and expectations can vary dramatically, so using the wrong phrase or tone could turn a cooperative customer in to a difficult customer. Handle challenging customers and avoid escalating situations with our customer service training course.



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Receptionist Training


It is important for receptionists attend professional receptionist training courses to improve their interpersonal skills confidence and learn professional structures to handling situations when they arise.


If you would like to learn professional structures and techniques to increase your confidence and overcome difficult customers, then give Hamilton Mercer Training a call on 0800 121 4660 or visit our dedicated Receptionist Training page which contains the course outline, venues and dates available.


We have some more articles related to receptionist training, advice and tips that you will find useful. Please do contact us if you would like to discuss any of our training programs or how our training will help you to improve your career as a receptionist

Difficult Receptionist Situations Training

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“The Trainer had the ability to relate to any situation and created some fantastic bespoke solutions. Excellent - thank you!”.

Jaguar Land Rover


“I have learnt a lot from this course and feel I will take many skills back with me and implement them. I feel much more confident dealing with difficult or awkward callers and feel i will be able to handle them in a more professional and efficient manner.”

Willmott Dixon Group


"I thought the course was excellent. It was particulary helpful in terms of dealing with difficult customers and how to approach tough situations."

Parkeray Limited


Difficult Receptionist Situations Training UK