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Exercise 2 - Customer service




This is an exercise in which the following capabilities are assessed:


• empathizing with the customer


• active listening


• assertiveness


• offering creative and efficient solutions to a practical issue

• explaining a personal point of view in a simple and concise manner


• working as part of the group


• accepting opinions from other group members


• agreeing and disagreeing in a constructive manner


• respecting the set timing


A customer is upset and your group needs to find a way to address his complaint.




Mr. John Smith is your passenger from London to Dubai. During the meal service he refuses the food and he does not want to accept anything that you offer him.


After the service, you offer Mr. Smith some water and ask if there is anything that you can serve him. You find out that he is upset that he was downgraded from Business Class to Economy Class due to overbooking. He is upset with the airline and he is thinking to switch his return flight to another carrier.


The team should come up with a solution for Mr. Smith's distress. At the end of your debate, nominate one team member to present the solution.


You have 20 minutes to complete de exercise.



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Remember from the previous exercise, the 2 start options:


group-leader or not.


For this exercise, the correct approach requires you to display your customer service and problem solving skills, while working harmoniously with your team members.




"Do not be completely silent.


"Do not be the center of attention.


"Make sure that you say one or two things and then allow your colleagues to participate as well.


"Do not be the only one talking.


"Voice your opinion but do not try to impose it over your colleagues, even when you are absolutely sure that you are right.


"You may think that the customer is not right. That is irrelevant. Do not start debating with the team if the customer is right or wrong. The customer should always be happy.


"Be realistic and think from the customer's perspective.


"If there is somebody else who is taking charge and wants to solve the issue by himself, try to not get frustrated. Just say couple of things once or twice.


"Have a positive body language.


"Smile at your team members, but don’t be laughing when a serious matter is being discussed.


"Do not get intimidated by the interviewers taking notes. "Do not glimpse at the assessors to get a clue of how you are doing.



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Guide yourself from the following examples as to the type of language to use:

• When expressing an opinion


I believe we should consider first what resources we have in th e aircra % to solve the customer's issue. What do you think?


• When not agreeing with a team member


I can see how giving him an upgrade to First Class might solve th e problem, but I believe we do not have the authority to do that. Th e ground sta ff would have done it themselves if it was an option.


• When keeping the time

I just want remind you that we have 5 minutes le % .


• When making a group decision, if you are the one writing


So we agreed that as a first approach, we wi $ listen as much as possible to what the customer has to say, am I correct?




'The group has decided that the most important part of handling this issue is empathy. We will encourage Mr. Smith to open up and tell us about his experience and how he felt about it. Then we will ask him for a solution. What does he want us to do to make up a little bit for what happened to him.


At this point, Mr. Smith might be happy just because he was heard, or he will give us an alternative. If his request is reasonable, such as a big bottle of water, or a night kit with ear plugs and an eye mask from Business Class, then we will fulfill it. If the request is not reasonable, such as requesting to be upgraded to First Class, then we will explain that it is not within our means to fulfill his wish.


If Mr. Smith does not want to give us a solution, then we will suggest a glass of champagne, a big bottle of water or reseating to another seat in Economy Class with more leg room.


Of course, we will ask if that is an acceptable solution for him.



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When an agreement was made, we will check back regularly with Mr. Smith.

We will inform the Purser for proper documentation of the incident, and the ground staff at the arrival airport to offer Mr. Smith extra care during his transit.'




Handling a difficult customer will never be a black and white scenario. You are dealing with human emotions and you can never estimate how somebody feels. Your suggested solution might work for Mr. Smith, but might not work for Mr. Jones who has gone through the exact same scenario.


Your main focus should be on listening to the customer and offering beneficial solutions to both the customer and the company. Do not go against what the company stands for to make a customer happy and of course do the best you can to solve the issue.


Once again, how you work with your group is very important and this is what the assessors are looking for.


Work together, not against each other. This is not a competition!




You spilled red wine on a customer's shirt. How do you deal with the situation?

You have only 15 toys, but 25 children in the cabin. How do you handle this?


You work in a tailor shop and the customer’s trousers are cut too short. What do you do?



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