Case: Confrontation versus Cooperation


    1.Define the Problem-Describe the type of case and what problem(s) or issue(s) should be the focus for your analysis.

    2, List any outside concepts that can be applied-Write down any principles, frameworks or theories that can be                     applied to this case.

  1. List relevant qualitative data-Find evidence related to or based on the quality or character of something.

  2. List relevant quantitative data-Find evidence related to or based on the amount or number of something.

  3. Describe the results of your analysis-What evidence have you accumulated that supports one interpretation over another?

  4. Describe alternative actions-List and prioritize possible recommendations or actions that come out of your analysis.

  5. Describe your preferred action plan

  6. Write a clear statement of what you would recommend including short, medium and long-term steps to be carried out.


Case: Confrontation versus Cooperation

Define the Problem

The problem in this case is that a customer is receiving poor treatment from a customer service representative. A customer service representative should respect the customer at all times. Maria deserved full attention from Tina and she should have been served with a polite and friendly attitude. The cause of the conflict is not because Maria failed to observe the return policy, but because Tina was impatient and rude. She ought to have been patient and listen to Maria attentively. In addition, she made things overly complicated while all she had to do was calmly explain the store’s policy to Maria.  Today, customers are experienced, sophisticated, technically savvy and most importantly, they are aware of the services they should get. Maria ought to have felt supported and understood by Tina. However, Tina approached her with rudeness, impatience, and offered poor services. This was the basis of the conflict (Lewis, 2016).

It is possible that Tina was having a rough day but she did not intend to be rude. However, a customer service representative should always treat their customers with respect regardless of whether they are having personal problems or not. Tina should have known that Maria was probably not impressed by the belt sander that she claimed was defective. The abrasion that ended up with her husband seeking medical attention should have been received with utmost concern and regrets. Tina had a responsibility to understand where Maria was coming from. Tina had poor communication skills that were reflected by use of offensive remarks. She accused Maria’s husband of not been literate and had Joe not intervened, she would have continued. Her attitude obviously upset Maria more that she was when going into the store. In order to calm down the situation, Joe had to make a decision that would have probably upset one of the parties. However, the customer service team owed to Maria and all its other customers to deliver the best services so that their customers can return.

Related:  Case Analysis Preparation

Positional Bargaining Approach

Joe can consider the positional bargaining approach and stick to the store’s return policy. This means that Maria’s goodwill will not be restored and she might never consider buying from the store. Adopting this position means that the store would prefer to lose a customer than compromise on its policies. Joe will have to convince Maria the store cannot honor the return policy and also apologize for Tina’s rudeness. This approach is not likely to restore Marias faith in their services and she may not recommend them to anybody. However much Joe apologizes for Tina, Maria’s disappointment in the store will heighten and she will be genuinely hurt for buying what she claims is a faulty sander and being disrespected by a customer service representative.

The problematic aspect of this approach is that the negotiators will be more committed to their positions. Joe will continue to defend the store’s policy while Maria will stick to her word that the sander was faulty. A strong commitment by the two parties to defend their position might lead to lack of attention (Spangler, 2003). This should not happen considering that the first customer service representative was not paying attention. By the end of the day, if Joe takes this position, chances are that Maria’s interest will not met. Maria will also use Tina’s rudeness as leverage in order to have the store’s return policy revoked. She could also file an independent complaint about Tina’s rudeness which could make the situation worse.  This position will not resolve the conflict.

The Win/Win Approach

Joe should consider a win/win approach and accept the return even though the store policy does not support it.  This compromise will ensure that the store does not lose a customer and that Maria gets what she wanted. This situation is arrived at considering the poor treatment from Tina. Under normal circumstances the return policy would not have been observed but the store has a reputation to uphold. The success of a business is highly dependent on how customers are treated. Customer satisfaction should always be kept a priority. In this case, the store should cater for any loses instead of taking a step that could ruin their reputation.

Alternative Approach

Alternatively, the store can accept the return and also compensate Maria for the costs she incurred with her husband’s hospitalization.  This approach will ensure that relationships are maintained and give Maria faith in the business.  This approach will separate Tina’s rude behavior from the values of the business. It will also save time and costs that may arise due to the situation. The store should also take an action against Tina, for example, she can be suspended. This will give her time to solve her issues and rethink her choices. By adopting this approach, the business will assure Maria and other clients that their satisfaction will be prioritized (, 2015).

In order to avoid such issues in the future, the store’s customer service representatives should be trained on how to treat their customers. When customers are frustrated or upset and the representatives do not know how to react, they should refer the customers to senior representatives who can handle the situations comfortably. This will ensure that the store does not suffer loses and the customers are happy.


Spangler, B. (2003). Positional Bargaining. Beyong Intractability. Retrieved 3 March 2017, from

Lewis, J. (2016). 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Excellent Customer Service | Provide Support. Retrieved 3 March 2017, from,. (2015). Methods for Resolving Conflicts and Disputes. Retrieved 3 March 2017, from

Case studies have been selected from real world scenarios to allow students the opportunity to connect theory to practice.

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