Communication

BEP 24: Expressing Agreement and Disagreement

28 Apr 2019

Whenever people work together, there is always a possibility of disagreement. It’s usually fine to tell friends bluntly that you disagree with them. But in business, we have to be quite careful about how we disagree. It’s not that we can’t do it, but that we have to do it in ways that won’t cause offence. We have to disagree indirectly.

In this podcast lesson, we’ll be reviewing the language used to disagree politely with someone.

 

BEP 83: Expressing the Future and Future Certainty

29 Mar 2019

podcommunication

Introduction

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at how people talk about future events. We’re also going to look at how to express future certainty, that is, to say how likely something will happen in the future.

What is the difference in usage between the future simple ‘will’ and ‘going to’? Many native English speakers would have problems answering this question in a grammatical sense, but they would automatically know how to use both future forms in conversation. In the lesson, we’ll make clear the difference between them.

Although seldom used by learners of English, native English speakers commonly use the present continuous tense to talk about the future. Seems strange to use a present tense for this purpose, but in certain contexts, it’s the right thing to do.

Three common verbs are also used to express the future: ‘plan,’ ‘intend,’ and ‘expect.’ We’ll show you how to use these verbs correctly in the right context.

And finally, we’ll show you how to talk about a future event in varying degrees of certainty.

Situation

Merta Motorparts, is going through a merger and, as a result, many changes are being planned in order to prepare the company for their new owners. Listen in as three employees from the Finance Department discuss some of the changes and how these changes will affect them.

Notice the use of “will,” “going to,” and verbs such as “plan,” “expect” and “intend” to talk about the future. Notice also how the speakers speculate about the future, i.e. say how likely a future event will happen, using words such as “probably,” “likely,” “possibly,” etc.

 

BEP 33: Dealing with Hostile Situations at Work

12 Feb 2019

Introduction

Conflicts between people are always going to happen. This is true for family relations as well as for workplace relations. Fortunately, most conflicts can be resolved. Patience is needed; so is a willingness to listen. And, of course, using the right words is critical. The English language has more than a million words. With some effort, you can find the right ones

Situation

Listen now to an exchange between Joe, the manager, and his subordinate Sally. Joe has generally tried to avoid encounters with her. He believes she has a hot temper and he doesn’t want to enflame it. This time, however, he has received a complaint from Rose, the project manager. And Joe must deal with the situation.

 

BEP 25: Communicating Action

23 Jan 2019

When a company moves to a new site it is known as ‘relocation’. This is a big decision, involving everyone connected with the company – staff, customers, suppliers and shareholders. It also affects the families, friends and communities of the people involved with the company.

Once the research into possible locations has been completed, an organisation must decide which relocation option is the most suitable, inform staff and plan the next stages of the operation.

After consulting staff about the options for relocation a final decision has to be taken and everyone informed. A number of things then have to be done to organise the relocation and for this an action plan has to be drawn up.

In this podcast lesson you will practise expressing action points, summarising information and informing colleagues of plans.

First listen to an extract from a business meeting about what has been decided about relocating the company to Bilton Oaks. Diana Riggs is chairing the meeting and the extract begins with her speaking. An action plan is also discussed, which involves assigning specific tasks to people.

 

BEP26: Dealing with Angry Customers

08 Jan 2019

We all deal with angry customers, and it's enough to drive people crazy. Angry and difficult customers are a major cause of workplace stress, and they take up huge amounts of your time and the resources of your organization. There are a lot of tricks and techniques you can use to deal with an angry customer. For now, let's focus on the most common mistake employees make when dealing with the difficult or angry customer. By avoiding this particular error, you can save yourself a lot of stress and time.

 

The #1 Mistake

 

When you are faced with an angry customer, you probably assume that the customer wants his or her "problem" fixed. That's a logical approach and it's at least partly true. Angry customers expect that you will be able to help them in some concrete way, by meeting their want or need. However, there's more to the story.

 

Ever notice that with a really angry person, even if you can "fix" the problem, the person still acts in angry or nasty ways? Why is that? Well, actually angry customers want several things. Yes, they want the problem fixed, but they also want to BE HEARD, TO BE LISTENED TO, and to have their upset and emotional state recognized and acknowledged.

 

What most employees do with angry customers is move immediately to solve the problem without giving that acknowledgment. Do you know what happens? The customer is so angry that he or she isn't prepared to work to solve the problem, doesn't listen, and gets in the way of solving the problem. So the number one error is moving to solve the problem before the customer is "ready", or calm enough to work with the employee. The result is the employee has to repeat things over and over (since the customer didn't hear), and has to ask the same questions over and over. And that's what drives people nuts.

 

The Solution

 

The solution is to follow this general rule: When faced with an angry customer, FIRST focus on acknowledging the feelings and upset of the customer. Once the customer starts to calm down as a result of having his or her feelings recognized, THEN move to solving the problem. You'll find that this will save you a lot of time and energy.

 

Situation 1

 

Here’s an example of a type of customer that is really feared. Now you’ll recognise Mr Tiger all right. In our example he’s turned up to the bank where Cathy works. As always, he’s angry. He’s been waiting about for nearly ten minutes. He may also have had a particularly bad day so far and wants any excuse to turn his anger on someone else. Let’s see how Cathy deals with him.

 

BEP 77: Strategy for Customer Service

26 Dec 2018

podcommunication

Introduction

Rule 1: The customer is always right.
Rule 2: If the customer is wrong, rule 1 applies.

It is said that for every person who complains, there are 26 other people who suffer in silence, and each unhappy customer tells 10 to 16 other people. But if you address the problem in the right way, 90 per cent of the complainers will do business with you again. When people complain, they are usually angry or upset. This can be difficult to handle in a second language.

In this podcast lesson, we’re going to look at how the same customer complaint is dealt with in two completely different ways. One will be the right way and the other, the wrong way.

After you’ve finished listening to this lesson, make sure you review our study notes on a six-stage customer service strategy. You can apply this strategy to most customer service situations where you need to handle a face-to-face customer problem.

Situation 1

You're now going to listen to a conversation between a bank teller and a customer who has a complaint about the bank’s service.

 

 
Menu