Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

Project Summary

In July 2020 the Wholesale and Retail IRC put forward a proposal to develop a new Unit of Competency to equip customer-facing workers, particularly in the retail sector, with the skills and knowledge to manage disrespectful, aggressive or abusive customers. This proposal was approved by the AISC Sub-Committee to be developed as a cross-sectoral Unit and Skill Set and is now being progressed by the IRC.
Create a pdf of all documents in this project

Status - Closed for Feedback

Need help? Visit our How To page for step by step instructions on how to leave feedback.

    This project is being conducted following approval from the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) Emergency Response Sub-Committee (the AISC Sub-Committee) in order to fast track national training products to meet longer term critical skills needs beyond the COVID-19 health crisis period to support economic recovery.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers have engaged in ‘panic buying’ creating sudden and unexpected demand for a number of products in supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail outlets. This demand has made it difficult for retailers to maintain stock levels in stores, and has led to increased instances of inappropriate and potentially aggressive behaviour from customers.

    Icare has recently released an evaluation of the pilot they conducted of their Respect and Resilience Program, which sought to address the issue of customer misbehaviour in the retail and fast food sectors. They defined customer misbehaviour as encompassing the spectrum of negative acts perpetrated by customers and directed at service employees, ranging from incivility, to verbal abuse, and escalation through to physical aggression and violence. It can be defined as unacceptable, often hostile, behaviour exhibited by customers of an organisation towards an employee or employees that creates an offensive, intimidating, or frightening situation. It can affect a worker’s physical, psychological and social health and can have severe consequences for the business – poor workplace morale, higher levels of absenteeism, sick leave and staff turnover, and escalating workers compensation and other insurance claims. 

    While there exists a range of units of competency that cover areas such as communication and conflict management skills, there is not currently any national training package product that covers the issue of aggressive customers and the mental health and wellbeing of customer-facing workers.

    The proposed Unit of Competency will contain information on strategies to deal with the customer, along with mental health and wellbeing of the worker and environmental means to prevent or assist in dealing with volatile customer situations.

    The proposed unit of competency, while having cross-sectoral applicability, will be of particular relevance for workers in the retail sector.

    Further information may be found on the detailed project page or in the Consultation Guide, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

    Contextualisation Guides

    Contextualisation guides which are to be made available on the AISC website are proposed for the following sectors:

    • Retail
    • Community Pharmacy
    • Hair & Beauty
    • Hospitality
    • Aged Care
    • Local Government
    • Public Transport
    • Transport & Logistics
    • A template is available in the attachments section at the bottom of this page for stakeholders in the above industry sectors to provide additional information that will assist Registered Training Providers in contextualising the Unit of Competency for delivery in those sectors.

      We encourage stakeholders to download the template and complete and email to feedback@skillsiq.com.au so that it can be considered for inclusion in the contextualisation guides.

      Consultation Timelines

      National consultation for the proposed new Unit of Competency and Skill Set is open from 27 August – 4 September 2020. During this period input is being sought on the draft Unit and Skill Set and their appropriateness in enabling the target group to achieve the stated aims, as outlined above.

      SkillsIQ will be distributing the draft Training Package Products to key industry stakeholders and VET professionals, in order to ensure the opportunity for broad national feedback. State and Territory Training Authorities will also be provided with the opportunity to make comment during this period.

      You can provide your feedback via this Online Feedback Forum. When accessing the Feedback Forum, please first refer to the “How To” guide located at the top of the page. It will provide directions for leaving and submitting comments.

      Feedback on the Unit and Skill Set can also be emailed directly to feedback@skillsiq.com.au

      If you are providing feedback on the Contextualisation Guide template, please download the template located on the feedback forum page and email to feedback@skillsiq.com.au

      Following the close of the consultation period, all feedback received will be collated and evaluated by the IRC to develop the final draft for submission and consideration by the AISC Emergency Response Sub-Committee.

      Contact details

      For more information please contact:

      Patrick Cummings
      Skills Engagement Executive
      E: Patrick.cummings@skillsiq.com.au
      P: 0429 600 586

Attachments

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers Consultation Guide August 2020
Contextualisation Information Template

Recent Comments

Simone Hoffmann 03.09.2020

"Include in this list: mental illness or intoxication "

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

SIRXCEG008 Manage disrespectful agressive or abusive customers

View

Simone Hoffmann 03.09.2020

"A simulated environment may be appropriate for the outlined Performance Evidence. A suite of video resources trainers can use to provide context would be appropriate, as role plays may not be close enough to 'real life' situations in a learning environment."

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

SIRXCEG008 Manage disrespectful agressive or abusive customers

View

Simone Hoffmann 03.09.2020

"Trainer feedback: Unless staff are mental health professionals 5.4 may be impossible. Advise to remove."

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

SIRXCEG008 Manage disrespectful agressive or abusive customers

View

Simone Hoffmann 03.09.2020

"Suggested PC inclusion: Recognise signs of potential violence and/or escalation"

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

SIRXCEG008 Manage disrespectful agressive or abusive customers

View

Simone Hoffmann 03.09.2020

"'Contagions' is a difficult word to train. Suggested amendment: Recognise customer emotions and their impact on self."

Managing Aggressive or Abusive Customers

SIRXCEG008 Manage disrespectful agressive or abusive customers

View