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Negotiations: difficult clients


If your company offers a service, you may find that you have to deal with complaints from customers and clients. In this unit, we look at some phrases that may be helpful in this situation.


Imagine that you work in a travel agency and a customer comes in to complain about a recent holiday. The customer tells you that they experienced a bad delay at the airport which ruined their holiday. How do you respond?


Now listen to two audio clips of people making complaints. As you listen, see if you can hear the phrases above.

Check understanding

Check your understanding by reading the scripts below:

Clip 1
Angela: Hello, I’m Angela, I’m the customer services manager. Would you like to come with me and come and take a seat and you can explain to me what actually is the problem?
Alison: Okay, okay, fine.
Angela: Can I take your name?
Alison: Yes, my name’s Alison. 
Angela: Okay. Alison, if you’d like to make yourself comfortable. As I said, I am the customer services manager and I’d like to help you. I understand you are having a few problems. Would you like to just explain from the beginning what’s happened?
Alison: Well, yes. I’ve just come back from one of your holidays. I went to Crete, in Greece, got back last week and the whole thing was a disaster.
Angela: Would you like to just explain from the beginning what’s happened?
Alison: Well, yes. To start with, when we got to the airport in, in Crete, we had a two-hour wait on the coach, I think there was a delayed flight or something, and… and…
Angela: …Right, that’s quite possible…
Alison: …Yes… And I just can’t work out why you didn’t take us to our hotel and then come back to the airport to pick up the people from the delayed flight.
Angela: Right, I’m sorry for that wait. I don’t know what the problem was. You mentioned a delayed flight there. As you can imagine, you probably weren’t the only family on the coach waiting, and to ferry people to and from resort to the airport would have been a lot of extra work and they like to try and keep everybody together who are going on the same flight. I can actually look into that for you …

Clip 2
Karen: Hello!
Mark: Hello, can I speak to despatch, please?
Karen: You’re through to despatch.
Mark: Right. Well, I phoned two days ago to say that I hadn’t received delivery of my order and I’m ringing again to say it still hasn’t arrived. 
Karen: Can I just take your name please?
Mark: Yes, it’s Mark Anderson.
Karen: Ah! I think there’s been a problem with that order, Mr Anderson.
Mark: What kind of problem?
Karen: Oh, I don’t know offhand. Let me check for you. Yes, part of the order didn’t arrive here at the depot, so I couldn’t send it out until we’d received everything.
Mark: Well, surely that was your problem to sort out without my having to call you back - again. I did phone and draw your attention to this a couple of days ago. Look, I placed this order weeks ago. I'm sorry, it’s just not good enough. 
Karen: Yeah, I’m sorry about this, Mr Anderson. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I can assure you we’ll do everything we can to send it out to you today.

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