South-Western - Management  
CPP, Inc. Case Study Illustrates Effective Conflict Handling
Topic Managing Individuals and Teams
Key Words Conflict management styles
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News Story

CPP, Inc. recently announced the release of a new case study examining the relationship between conflict handling and customer satisfaction ratings for inbound call centers. The study confirmed that effective conflict handling can increase customer satisfaction. Specifically, call center representatives who used a combination of “collaborating” and “accommodating” styles scored the highest on customer satisfaction ratings.

For the study, Randall Wade used the TKI instrument, which measures an individual’s tendencies in dealing with interpersonal conflict. The TKI categorizes five different conflict-handling styles and helps people identify the style they use most often. The instrument also helps illustrate what styles are most appropriate and constructive in various situations. The modes include: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating.

Questions
1.

Describe the model that Kenneth Thomas uses to categorize the five styles of handling conflict. What style comes most naturally to you?

2.

The article says that a combination of the “collaborating” and accommodating” styles seems to work best for improving customer satisfaction. What are the main differences between these two styles? In your opinion, why does the combination approach work best in call center environments?

3.

What can companies who operate inbound call centers do with the information from this study in order to improve their overall customer satisfaction?

Source “CPP, Inc. Case Study Illustrates Effective Conflict Handling,” PR Newswire, Oct. 3, 2007, pNA.
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