Complaints can arise at any time, and it is crucial that public sector workers are prepared to deal with them quickly and effectively to avoid escalations, increase trust and improve service. Being prepared to listen, respond, and learn from complaints, wherever and whenever they arise will help to ensure your organisation maintains a reputation of excellent duty of care.

This fully bespoke Successfully Resolving Verbal Complaints course will not only help your team build communication and mediation skills but will also help create a culture where complaints are seen as opportunities to improve your organisation. Through interactive workshops, delegates will acquire the confidence to handle difficult and emotional conversations over the phone and face-to-face.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the nature and importance of complaints in the public sector
  • Develop the skills to quickly find satisfactory resolutions to a variety of grievances
  • Recognise the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Use empathy and active listening to handle difficult conversations
  • Create opportunities for positive change



All the Understanding ModernGov courses are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified, with signed certificates available upon request for event.

Enquire About In-House Training

To speak to someone about a bespoke training programme, please contact us:
0800 542 9414
[email protected]


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09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Trainer's Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:30

Understanding Verbal Complaints in the Public Sector

  • Public perception of complaint responses in the public sector
  • Why it’s important to handle verbal complaints effectively
  • Defining and identifying complaints
  • Understanding the 4 types on complainant
10:30 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 12:30

Verbal Complaints Best Practice

  • Discussion on complaints handling, what was a positive experience you had, what was a negative?
  • Frontline staff as key players
  • Gathering all the relevant information
  • Finding the appropriate resolution
  • What to do when you don’t have the answer
  • Handling complex and high-risk complaints
  • The importance of following up
12:30 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:45

Handling Difficult Conversations

  • Active listening and the importance of body language
  • Remaining calm and in control
  • It’s not always what you say, it’s how say it – understanding the importance of tone in communication
  • Empathy and Apology
  • Role play – practice handling different types of complainants
14:45 - 15:00

Afternoon Break

15:00 - 16:00

Complaints as Opportunity

  • Understanding the benefits of keeping detailed records of complaints
  • Reducing the cause for complaints
  • Changing the culture around complaints
  • Why compensation isn’t always enough – using complaints to improve service provision
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close