As a 24-hour call center, we handle a broad spectrum of calls throughout the day.
When providing customer service, you are bound to encounter a difficult customer.
We have heard it all.
Unfortunately, it is very common for receptionists and call center agents to bear the brunt of this frustration.
Since these team members are often the first point of contact, they need to be trained to handle these types of calls effectively.
How agents deal with these callers impacts customer satisfaction.
In other words, it may cost you, customers, if not handled well.
You can help your customer service team to successfully manage an unhappy customer by making conflict resolution in your organization a focus.
Building conflict resolution into your training programs, and providing strategies to handle it when it occurs.
Below are some tips you can include in your script for handling angry callers.
The goal is to teach agents to remain calm and courteous in the face of customer frustration and conflict and to maintain high levels of customer service while doing so.
That can be a challenge. The key to beating this challenge is for your agents not to take things personally. You want to address the issue earlier be for it escalates.
But not taking things personally allows agents to focus on the cause of the caller’s frustration and to deal with the problems effectively. That helps eliminate the potential for a customer service nightmare.
Angry callers need to vent, so remind your agents to let callers talk.
Doing so lets them express their feelings and then calm down.
Once they’ve calmed down, your agent can ask some basic questions to get at the underlying cause of the customer’s frustration.
Remind agents about the tone of voice. It’s critical when talking with angry or frustrated callers.
A steady voice helps callers calm down, and helps agents manage conflicts.
Also, remind agents not to laugh or mock callers in any way and to use a soft tone to convey empathy.
In addition to the right tone of voice, remind agents to remain unbiased when talking with frustrated callers.
They shouldn’t agree or disagree with them. Also, remind agents not to respond to angry comments.
Instead, let them voice their frustration and anger.
Agents need to stay focused on helping customers find a solution.
They can then interject with helpful redirection at the right time.
The goal is to redirect the conversation back to critical issues and provide constructive solutions to their problems.
Returning to the main points can help agents de-escalate angry conversations and guide callers in defining solutions to their problems.
Use phrases like: “Let me make sure I understand your issue….” That keeps things between the lines.
Plus, it keeps things from escalating and eventually getting out of hand.
Honesty is important.
If a customer asks a question you don’t have an answer to know, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know.
But it is essential to tell them that you can find out immediately.
Also, it is a standard error for team members not to want to tell customers “no.”
But why is saying “no” a bad thing?
You might be lying to them or misleading them.
There are times that customers will ask for something unreasonable or something you can’t do.
It would be better to tell them why it won’t be possible rather than mislead them, and they later find out you told them wrong.
Remind agents that staying positive is contagious.
Their positivity will eventually wear on the caller and help the caller understand that you will resolve the issue will in due time.
Staying also positive rebuffs the caller’s negativity.
You probably have a script for handling routine customer service calls. And your agents follow this script when dealing with customers.
But you may not have a script to follow for angry calls. Create one as soon as you can. Then, make sure agents know they need to follow it when talking with angry callers.
Having a few bullet points or go-to phrases in your script agents can use in these situations will help agents provide excellent customer experience, boosting customer satisfaction rates.
In many cases, irate customers are not mad at you, but at the situation, they find themselves in.
Don’t take what they say personally as it will not help you solve their problem.
Remember point number four and eight; Don’t React and Stay Positive.
What is active listening?
According to Verywellmind.com, “active listening refers to a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your conversation partner positively.”
Critical components of active listening include:
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
How would you feel if you were in their position? How do you think the customer feels?
You can sympathize with a customer by using your active listening skills (as mentioned above).
Hear what they have to say. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, so you get all the facts.
Then let them know you understand their position, and you plan to help them with their issue.
Every time you handle difficult calls, it’s essential to complete a self-analysis of your performance.
Each call is an opportunity to improve your skills, be mindful of what you did well and where you need to improve.
In addition to providing agents with a script, you should take advantage of technology to help agents handle customer calls effectively.
You can use call center software tools, like live monitoring and call recording, for example, to coach agents to use the right tone of voice with angry customers. The key is to teach agents to resolve conflicts in the early stage before they become a problem.
Consider role-playing possible customer interactions. Team members can play the roles of angry customers to help team members learn how to deal with angry customers. Use real-life examples as part of your training dialogues.
The key to handling unhappy or angry customers is to stay calm and focus on their problems. Taking the time to educate and train your team to effectively manage these types of calls will provide a significant return for your organization.
Remind your team that they shouldn’t take it personally, and they should try to put themselves in the customer’s shoes.
With time and practice, your team members can become experts in navigating complicated customer interactions.