Customer Service - Resolving Complaints

Stefanie Simmons - author of the lesson   Stefanie I May 04, 2023
Business English, Free Lessons, Speaking Lessons
Problems, Work
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
ESL Customer Service Lesson Plan - Business English

Lesson Overview

What an awkward customer! In this lesson, students will discuss the topic of resolving issues with difficult customers. The lesson features a video that explains some strategies for handling customer complaints and how to solve problems so every party is happy. Students will learn and practice vocabulary relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Grammar: Students will practice using modal verbs and imperative forms, which are essential for giving advice and instructions in customer service scenarios. They will learn to construct polite and effective responses that can de-escalate conflicts.

  • Listening: Students will enhance their listening skills by engaging with a video that provides strategies for handling difficult customers. They will focus on understanding key problem-solving techniques and the tone appropriate for such interactions.

  • Speaking: Through speaking exercises, students will simulate customer service scenarios to practice resolving complaints effectively. They will learn how to communicate empathy, reset expectations, and negotiate solutions that satisfy all parties involved.

  • Vocabulary: The lesson will introduce specific vocabulary related to customer service issues, such as "acknowledge," "reset expectations," "mutual benefit," and phrases used to diffuse tension. This vocabulary will help students articulate solutions and understand customer concerns more clearly.

  • Cultural Awareness: Students will discuss various cultural expectations around customer service, exploring how customer complaints and resolutions may differ across cultures. They will examine the importance of cultural sensitivity when addressing customer concerns.

  • Homework: Students will engage with exercises that reinforce the vocabulary and strategies discussed during the lesson. They will fill in blanks with the correct words to complete sentences about handling customer complaints, match vocabulary terms to their definitions, and apply these terms in written responses to hypothetical customer service scenarios.


Do you deal with difficult people at work? Is the customer always right? Watch this video to learn some strategies for handling customer complaints and how to solve problems so every party mutually benefits.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

awkward customer [noun]: a difficult person to deal with
resolve [verb]: settle or find a solution to (a problem)
complaint [noun]: a statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable
the customer is always right [expression]: a motto or slogan which exhorts service staff to give a high priority to customer satisfaction
reset [verb]: to set again or anew
dissatisfied [adjective]: not content or happy with something
fault [noun]: an unattractive or unsatisfactory feature; mistake or error
valid [adjective]: acceptable or reasonable
acknowledge [verb]: recognize the importance or quality of
accomplish [verb]: achieve or complete successfully
empathy [noun]: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
dismissive [adjective]: serving to dismiss or reject someone or something
highly charged [adjective]: filled with great excitement, tension, or emotion
transparent [adjective]: clear, obvious, and honest
diffuse [verb]: to weaken and lose its power to affect people
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