Anyone who has ever worked on the phone knows the importance of providing excellent customer service. However, it can be pretty difficult to offer pleasantries to someone who is verbally abusive. All phone agents have experienced irate callers at some point. The most talented of phone agents, however, know exactly how to turn these irate callers into fans of their brands.
Take a moment.
A knee-jerk reaction will not help you in moments when you’re enduring the wrath of an irate caller. You may hear swearing, name calling and yelling – but don’t be so quick to react. Your initial reaction may be to respond in kind (by being not so kind). After all, you are human and you are allowed to express your emotions as well. However, it’s best to take a few breaths, allow your caller to complete his/her rant and then calmly respond.
Taking the time to gather your thoughts will help you to better empathize with your irate caller. Let him/her know that you understand his/her frustration and never forget to apologize for the inconvenience he/she has endured. Oftentimes, it’s this expression of empathy that will help to calm irate callers down. In many cases, it makes them aware that the phone agents aren’t the cause of the problem but can be the resolution if they just work together respectfully.
Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do.
Perhaps, your caller is irate because of the impression of a promise being broken. Take, for example, the delivery date of a much-needed item. If the item hasn’t gotten to the customer on time, thus creating the reason for the anger, don’t promise a new date you can’t stick to. Of course, you may encounter an individual who expects to receive his/her order “NOW!” But, naturally, that isn’t something you can guarantee.
Instead of replying with a negative statement such as “I’m sorry but I can’t get that item to you today”, try the following positive twist: “I can totally understand that you want to receive your item right away and I would feel the same way if I was in your shoes. What I’ll do for you is put a rush on the delivery so that you receive it as soon as humanly possible.”
Don’t feel you need to take the abuse.
A focus on empathy and quickly resolving the issue is great – but it doesn’t mean that you deserve to take a verbal beating. An irate caller who is really going over the top deserves to be told that there is a limit to what you’re willing to endure: “I understand that you’re upset, but if you’re willing to work with me, I’ll do all I can to resolve the issue. There isn’t any further need for that type of language. Let’s agree to move forward and take care of the problem.”
Working on the phone can be tough. But, at MeloTel, we enjoy making it easy for our customers. For information about our cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!