Conflict is a natural part of being human, and with good reason: if we all agreed on everything life would be rather boring. We would certainly miss out on a ton of efficient problem-solving opportunities. But there’s a time to revel in differing opinions, to agree to disagree, and a time to compromise. Oh, also a time to admit you’re wrong. As a small business owner you’re often large and in charge of production, HR, and customer service, and it’s easy to focus on production, but it’s vital to your business that you succeed in conflict resolution.

The key to successful conflict resolution is open communication. You want staff and clients alike to come to you with their dislikes and upsets because you want the opportunity to fix it. Every complaint you receive is the chance to keep a key member of your team or customer base. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, so take those complaints as constructive criticism.
Here are some tips on how to responsibly handle conflict resolution in a variety of business settings.

In-house:

One of – if not The – most challenging places to deal with conflict is within your own team. Let it be known far and wide that co-workers do not have to like each other in order to work together productively. Ultimately you want to take the mental health and engagement of your staff seriously. Open up conversation with your conflicted staff, separately to start, and be sure you have their whole side of the story. Similar Conflict Resolutionto an annual review, find out whether their skill set is being used appropriately and at the same time ascertain whether the conflict is a result of boredom, clashing working styles, or disrespect. Design a solution with your staff. Check-in regularly to be sure it’s working and be prepared to make changes. Bottom line: Don’t allow internal conflict fester to become a toxic work environment.

With clients:

Is the problem yours, or is it the perception of the client? You can’t know without all of the details. Quite often you will discover that client complaints are a direct result of broken communication. Make time for a quality conversation to hear them out, and design a solution that will keep you both in contact on a reasonable timeline. Bottom line: Even if you can’t work things out, learn from the situation and apply fixes going forward.

On social media:

You’ve heard enough by now not to feed the trolls, which is not to engage with people commenting on your posts just to cause trouble. However, there are legitimate complaints being made through your social media channels and Delete and Block aren’t the best option. Address legitimate complaints publically and invite the disgruntled party to contact the company directly. And you know, making the same offer to trolls isn’t a bad idea either – there may be more to their story. This demonstrates that your company is listening, which is highly valued by customers. Bottom line: It’s better to acknowledge an online complaint than to let it sit out in the open unattended at all.

Your ultimate goal with conflict resolution is to ensure all parties understand that you take them seriously in order to promote a healthy work environment, and to produce reliable customer service. In return you get the benefits of brighter ideas and immediate feedback when things aren’t working before a total system failure.

Jelly Triangle is here to help you with a variety of website and marketing challenges. Contact us at 519-624-8888 to book your obligation-free consultation today.

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