While hope is on the horizon with more Americans getting their COVID-19 vaccinations, tension is still high as some continue to wait for vaccine access and others are unsure what protective measures must still be followed after vaccination. As of press time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends fully vaccinated people still wear masks and practice social distancing when in public, which means both grocery associates and shoppers should still wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.
But these frequently-updated guidelines can be confusing, and grocery workers are on the front lines of enforcing local and state guidelines to shoppers who are stressed and tired from the pandemic. "We have customers in stores who are projecting pent-up feelings and emotions in unexpected and very elevated ways,” says Mercedes Roling, senior consultant at Root Inc., who partnered with FMI on the De-Escalate: Tools for Conflict Management in the Grocery Store webinar.
“For the safety of our employees, the safety of our customers, and the integrity of our brands, we really want to avoid scenes,” Roling says. To help retailers and associates manage potential conflicts with shoppers, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute is offering a class on conflict resolution, available free to IGA members.
During the 9-minute class, attendees will learn how to manage conflicts online and in-store related to the most common scenarios encountered in-store, including:
- Abusive language
- Anger about out-of-stocks and product limits
"While it's unfortunate that conflict resolution has become another must-have skill for retailers and associates, the tips in this class can help your team prepare for unwanted behavior," says Jason King, training and development manager at the IGA Coca-Cola Institute.
IGA retailers and associates can watch the class here.
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