Dealing with upset customers is a daunting task done face-to-face. It is even more so over the phone where the only thing up your arsenal is your voice and your patience. It takes a certain skill and a lot of patience to successfully handle irate callers. In fact, there are only quite a few agents who can manage to pull it off successfully. Below are some tips so that you can also make that call your own.
It’s about the customer, not you
Never take it personally. When that customer starts to get agitated or angry, do not let it get to you. It’s an overrated advice but you must be patient. They are not upset at you. They don’t even know you. It is not an attack on your personal character but rather a reaction towards something unpleasant. It’s about their problem and not your problem with them. Do not fight fire with fire. Take control of the situation with a clear and level head. No matter what they say about you or the company just keep going and solve the problem to the best of your ability.
Let them talk but listen, too
Usually irate callers tend to rant and be long-winded. That’s perfectly normal. Even if your average handling time might suffer, just wait for the customer to finish talking. Also, don’t let it be about just them talking. Listen very carefully and take note to what they are literally saying and what they may mean. After they have vented it all out, don’t bombard them with questions right away. Ask permission to ask first. Then gradually work up a calm conversation with them. Repeating the information they have shared with you can also reassure them. But not too much. Just the important points. Also, apologize when absolutely necessary. Again, not too much.
Use positive scripting but avoid jargon
It’s not about what you say but how you say it. Irate callers tend to be hypersensitive to what you say. Avoid using a lot of negative words. Phrase your responses in a way that does not involve saying an outright ‘no’ when applicable. Keep it as simple as possible. Don’t use jargon too much. The customer is overwhelmed already as it is, giving them technical information might cause more confusion and agitate them further. Always make the customer feel that you are with them not against them.
Solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible
Don’t put the customer in unnecessary hold. Making irate callers wait longer than necessary tend to make them more angry. It also gives them the impression that the agent is not fit to solve their issue especially when they are put on hold multiple times. As much as possible, seek out a solution as best as you can, as fast as you can. Give them options, work it out with them step by step. Utilize all your tools. Conference in a person who can answer their questions. Do every single thing you can do solve the problem. It is also important to let the customer what exactly you are doing every step of the way to show that you care about them.
Be kind. Always.
Sometimes the reason that an irate caller phones in is actually because of external circumstances that are happening in their lives. You might never know what they’re going through so it is always important to be kind always. Even when they’ve said every swear word in the book. Just do your job. Don’t lose your cool. Be kind, polite and most importantly be professional. Don’t argue back. Go the extra mile if you must. Just make that call work for both you and the customer.
It takes skill and practice when dealing with irate callers. Don’t expect to be good at it overnight. Just take it one step at a time and you will be on your way to be the best agent that you are.