FORMS OF CONFLICT AND WAYS TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT
Any business should be a community endeavour to be enjoyed and relished by all. Many people become embroiled in conflicts with internal and external customers without any clear idea of what caused them in the first place or what they can do to prevent them from occurring the future. Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values or goals.
Conflict should be viewed as neither positive nor negative. Instead, it is an opportunity to identify differences that may need to be addressed when dealing with your internal and external customers. It is not unusual to experience conflict when dealing with someone else. In fact, it is normal and beneficial to stay focused on the issue rather than personalizing and internalizing the conflict.
Organization in Tourism Industry : Food and Beverage Services
1. Forms of Conflict (with example)
1. Between Individuals. My supervisor and I (or another employee) disagree on the way a customer situation should be handled.
When a customer finishes his meal and is about to make payment, Ali and his friends will stand by at the cashier counter with the customer’s invoice. At the moment when the customer walks to the cashier counter, he will hand over the invoice to the respective cashier-in-charge. After the customer makes payment, he will thank and greet the customer.
The situation changed when a new waiter joins the coffee house. He practices different routine upon customer wants to make payment. He will leave the invoice on the table soon after the arrival of the customer’s meal. So, the customer will bring the invoice to the counter and make the payment. The waiter wants to remain the practice as he finds out that the way is more practical.
2. Between an individual and a group. I disagree about a new customer procedure created by my work team.
A customer called informing that she encountered problem in logging in to the restauran’s official website to make a delivery order. She called Maria, a Customer Service Assistant to make order through phone call eventhough she understood the restaurant’s new procedure. Maria who seemed disagree to practise the new procedure, agreed to take the order through the phone call faced difficulties when customer did last minute cancellation.
3. Between an individual and an organization. A dissatisfied customer feels that my organization is not providing quality product or services.
Jane, a customer wrote a complaint letter regarding poor service from a coffee house. She found out that the waiter did not attend her for almost 12 minutes. She waited patiently and because she understood that the restaurant was fully packed. Later, Jane raised her hand calling for another waitress and found out that the waitress was busy attending to the regular customer even though she had notice Jane’s appearance.
Finally, Jane headed to the supervisor in charge and told him about the situation. The supervisor was too busy to notice her appearance. Jane decided to walk away without having any lunch.
4. Between an organizational groups. My department has goals (for example, the way customer orders or call handling procedures are processed) that create additional requirements or responsibilities for members of another department.
The room service order is placed through telephone. In fact, it is very difficult to take an order correctly by telephone. One must be fast, not to forget any important information and try to sell the maximum to the guest.
For a maximum efficiency, the Room-service personnel use digital telephones that indicate the name of the person and the room number, and the possibility to display the room number of the previous call in case they forget. The room service order is written down manually or computerized and it should include the following information:
- Room number
- Name of the guest
- Number of persons
- Detailed order
- Hour the order is taken
- Service hour
The service should be fast and discrete. The service procedure is as follows:
- Verify the guest's name on the bill
- Knock on the door
- Announce "room service"
- Remove plastic films from the food
- Wait until the guest invites the waiter to come in
- Express wishes "good morning, good afternoon, good evening, call the guest by his last name (good morning mister X).
- Ask where to place the tray
- List the different food items ordered by the guest
- Ask the guest to sign the bill
- Thank the guest and explain the procedure to take away the tray
It is to the room service to clear away the tray when the guests have finished, either by asking them to place their tray outside of their room when they have finished, and to clear it 20 minutes after the service or by asking the guest to call them to come clear away the tray, which is more delicate because the waiter must come in the guest's intimacy the least possible. It is the object of conflict between housekeeping and the room service departments. In fact, there is nothing worst than a floor where there is dirty trays lying on the floor. One should consider that the job of the room service is finished only when all trays have been cleared away.
5. Between organizations. My organization is targeting the same customers to sell a new product similar to one that an affiliate organization markets to that group.
Sonia found out that it was very difficult in finding customer based on targeted customer from an affiliate organization markets to that group. Almost 45% of the customer would inquire product from the respective organization than hers. She also found out that it was very difficult to make the customer understand the differences between the two organizations. Customers also felt irritated by the promotion skills.
2. Suggestions : Ways to Resolve the Conflict
1. Between Individuals.
Keep an open mind. Ali should be cautious in order to avoid letting his own values or beliefs influence his objectivity when working toward conflict identification and resolution. This can cause damage to his long-term relationship(s).
2. Between an individual and a group.
Follow established procedures for handling conflict. It is easier to implement a process already in place than to have a quickly come up with one.
3. Between an individual and an organization.
Clarify communication. Ensure to elicit information on the causes of the conflict and provide the clear, detailed feedback necessary to resolve the issue. This effort can sometimes test patience and communication skills, but it is a necessary step in the resolution process.
Remain calm. The staff cannot be part of the solution if they become part of the problem. If the staff are one of the factors contributing to the conflict, consider getting an objective third party to arbitrate; possibly a co-worker or your supervisor.
4. Between an organizational groups.
Focus resolution efforts on the issues. Do not get caught up in or allow finger-pointing, name calling, or accusations. Keep all efforts and discussions directed toward identifying and resolving the real issues. Stay away from criticizing or blaming others.
The room service employee must have general knowledge about the hotel premises. The room service employee is often the only one to be in direct contact with the guest during his stay. The guest often asks questions concerning the technical equipment of the rooms, the hotel premises, or any other information, and the waiter must be able to answer to any need.
5. Between organizations.
Be proactive in avoiding conflict. As a customer service representative for the organization, Sonia must try to recognize the personalities of those with whom she come into contact daily. If she is dealing with co-workers or peers, try to identify their capabilities and the environments most conclusive to their effectiveness. Interacting with a customer by using verbal and nonverbal technique can help to determine the customer’s needs. Approach each person in a fashion that can lead to win-win situations; do not set yourself or others up for conflict or failure.
Identify and confront underlying issues immediately. If she fails to confront issues as soon as possible, tensions may escalate.
Conflict is a normal and necessary part of healthy relationships. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything at all times. Therefore, learning how to deal with conflict—rather than avoiding it—is crucial.
When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship. But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth, ultimately strengthening the bond between two people. By learning the skills of conflict resolution, can avoid disagreements with confidence and keep personal and professional relationships strong and growing.
Customer Service Skills for ASuccess Robert W. Lucas. Mc Graw – Hill International Edition (2009).