Unit of competency details

SITXCRI401 - Respond to a customer in crisis (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to SITXCRI001 - Respond to a customer in crisis• Equivalent • Unit updated to meet the Standards for Training Packages. 02/Mar/2016

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Jan/2013


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110101 Hospitality 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110101 Hospitality 07/Aug/2013 
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Modification History

The version details of this endorsed unit of competency set are in the table below. The latest information is at the top.




New unit.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to identify the ramifications of a crisis on a customer and to respond with assistance and support. It requires the ability to identify and interpret information relevant to the crisis, provide customer crisis care and organise operational services to assist the customer in crisis.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to all tourism, travel, hospitality and event sectors. It has particular application to accommodation providers, tour operators, retail travel agencies and inbound tour operators.

The crisis would be significant and could involve the death, injury, illness or psychological trauma of a customer. It does not cover more operational circumstances, such as the loss of travel documents, passports and money.

This unit applies to people who operate independently or with limited guidance from others. This includes senior tour coordinators, senior retail travel consultants, hotel duty managers, guides, and tour managers who are able to use significant discretion and judgement to respond to customer crises.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Identify and acknowledge the crisis.

1.1 Ascertain the scope and severity of the customer  crisis.

1.2 Consider impacts on customer ability to continue in service participation.

1.3 Consider the impacts on other customers.

1.4 Access and interpret information  relevant to the crisis.

1.5 Acknowledge the incident as a customer crisis  and communicate details to key people .

2. Provide customer crisis care.

2.1 Identify symptoms of customer trauma .

2.2 Monitor and assess the severity of customer trauma.

2.3 Provide sympathetic and sensitive support and reassurance  to the customer.

2.4 Avoid pitfalls in crisis care  when communicating with customers.

2.5 Provide recommendations  to the customer.

3. Organise services to assist the customer.

3.1 Develop an action plan to manage the crisis.

3.2 Promptly identify and access sources of assistance.

3.3 Assist  the customer to access service providers .

3.4 Minimise disruption to other customers and maintain their services.

3.5 Organise operational services  to assist the customer in crisis.

3.6 Involve key people in the management of the customer crisis and integrate their perspective.

3.7 Provide explicit details of progress with and final confirmations of operational services to the customer and key people.

4. Evaluate and debrief customer crisis management.

4.1 Evaluate the crisis management process to determine the effectiveness of the response.

4.2 Debrief and complete all reports.

4.3 Provide recommendations for improvements to future crisis management practices.

4.4 Seek assistance to cope with any personal trauma experienced.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • discuss details of a customer crisis with key internal and external people
  • provide sympathetic and sensitive support to the customer
  • critical thinking skills to evaluate the severity of crisis impacts on the customer
  • literacy skills to:
  • read and interpret reports on the customer crisis and customer forward service arrangements
  • research sources of assistance for the customer
  • write succinct action plans and accurate and complex crisis management reports
  • numeracy skills to calculate immediate costs of service provision to the customer
  • planning and organising skills to organise operational services to assist the customer while minimising disruption to other customers
  • problem-solving skills to identify, acknowledge and immediately respond to customer crises
  • self-management skills to take responsibility for managing a customer in crisis
  • teamwork skills to involve key staff members in the management of a customer crisis.

Required knowledge 

  • key symptoms of trauma
  • sources of medical and counselling assistance
  • communication techniques for supporting and reassuring customers
  • pitfalls in crisis care communications
  • operational services used to manage customer service and repatriation arrangements
  • role of key external people and organisations in managing a customer crisis
  • a range of formats for and inclusions of incident reports
  • for the specific organisation:
  • the roles and responsibilities of key staff members
  • procedures for reporting and managing customer incidents.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • identify the ramifications of a customer crisis, respond with customer crisis care and organise operational services to assist the customer
  • integrate knowledge of the key symptoms of trauma and communication techniques for supporting and reassuring customers.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure use of:

  • a real or simulated tourism, hospitality or event industry customer service environment where a customer is in crisis
  • customer service arrangements or itineraries
  • customer crisis information
  • current industry procedures for reporting and managing customer incidents
  • customers with whom the individual can interact.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • evaluation of a portfolio, prepared by the individual, incorporating documents used for the management of a customer crisis:
  • summary of customer crisis information
  • an action plan to manage the crisis
  • notes on the organisation of operational services to assist the customer in crisis
  • reports produced post crisis
  • direct observation, using role plays, of the individual supporting and reassuring customers
  • use of case studies and problem-solving exercises so the individual can identify and evaluate the impacts of different types of customer crises and provide responses
  • written and oral questioning to assess knowledge of:
  • the key symptoms of trauma
  • communication techniques for supporting and reassuring customers
  • role of key external people and organisations in managing a customer crisis
  • review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the individual.

Guidance information for assessment 

The assessor should design integrated assessment activities to holistically assess this unit with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role, for example:

  • SITHACS303 Provide accommodation reception services
  • SITTGDE401 Coordinate and operate tours
  • SITTGDE402 Manage extended touring programs
  • SITTTOP403 Operate tours in a remote area
  • SITTTSL306 Book supplier services.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Customer  may include:

  • the affected customer
  • their friends and family
  • travelling companions.

Information  relevant to the crisis may be sourced from:

  • discussions with:
  • customer
  • their friends and family
  • travelling companions
  • medical reports
  • emergency services reports
  • police reports
  • staff, contractor, supplier reports on:
  • accident
  • assault
  • death
  • injury or illness
  • mugging.

Customer crisis  may include:

  • accident, e.g. involvement of a vehicle
  • assault, e.g. sexual assault
  • death
  • family crisis and need for repatriation
  • major injury or illness
  • mugging
  • any incident resulting in psychological trauma
  • suicide
  • witnessing a serious incident.

Key people may include: 

  • colleagues, including:
  • managers
  • operational staff
  • peers
  • supervisors
  • family members
  • personnel within the controlling office:
  • event management organisation
  • inbound tour operator
  • outbound tour wholesaler
  • professional conference organiser
  • retail travel agency
  • tour operator
  • personnel from suppliers on an extended tour
  • travel insurance provider personnel
  • travelling companions.

Trauma  may involve: 

  • behavioural disturbance:
  • avoidance of thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma
  • detachment from others
  • efforts to avoid activities, places or people that arouse recollections of the event
  • exaggerated startle response
  • increased smoking or alcohol consumption
  • irritability or outbursts of anger
  • markedly diminished interest or participation in significant tourism activities
  • response to cues that symbolise or resemble the event
  • cognitive ability:
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • inability to recall important aspects of the event
  • inability to make a decision
  • difficulty in falling or staying asleep
  • distressing recollections of the event
  • emotional disturbance:
  • anxiety and nervousness
  • fear
  • grief
  • guilt
  • helplessness
  • resentment
  • poor interpersonal reactions
  • physical disability
  • recurrent distressing dreams.

Reassurance  may relate to advice about:

  • availability of assistance, advice and support
  • confidentiality of customer information
  • customer taking the lead to seek assistance, advice and support.

Pitfalls in crisis care  may include:

  • making jokes
  • making promises that cannot be kept
  • treating the event flippantly
  • trying to motivate or force customer participation in touring activities
  • use of negative or unhelpful statements.

Recommendations  may include:

  • advising the customer to:
  • cancel the remainder of their touring arrangements and return home
  • contact their travel insurance provider
  • rebook a replacement holiday
  • report incidents to the police
  • seek medical assistance
  • seek professional counselling.

To assist  the customer may involve:

  • accompanying customers to service providers
  • making appointments with service providers
  • making contact with and seeking options and recommendations from the:
  • customer’s retail travel agency
  • local tour or ground operator
  • organisation’s controlling office
  • travel insurance provider
  • providing customers with phone numbers of crisis counselling services
  • providing explicit directions and instructions to assist customers reach the service provider
  • providing transport to the service provider.

Service providers  may include:

  • airlines
  • consulates
  • counselling services
  • funeral directors
  • high commissions
  • hospitals
  • medical and allied health professionals
  • offices of the local inbound tour or ground operator
  • police.

Operational services  may include:

  • accommodation
  • cancellation of forward travel and tourism services
  • flights and ticketing to repatriate the customer
  • repatriation of bodies via:
  • airlines
  • consulates
  • funeral directors
  • high commissions
  • travel insurance companies.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field

Crisis Management