When handling customer calls it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll encounter an irate customer at some point. When you are in a call handling environment and acting on behalf of your clients these types of customer calls do arise and it is very important to know how to handle them appropriately. A policy for dealing with irate or unhappy callers is one way to ensure that a consistent brand image is portrayed and that all customers get a similar service without any discrepancies. Below are five tips for ensuring irate calls are handled appropriately.
It may sound like common sense and it may seem nearly impossible when handling a customer who maybe shouting and not patient themselves but patience truly is a virtue. Whether you perceive the fault lies with your client or not you must remain patient and get to the root of the callers problem so it can be resolved and placated in a timely manner.
The second the call handler gets angry or audibly upset it damages the professional line between them and the caller. The majority of irate customers calm down when they are listened to and spoken to sympathetically and with a consistent calm manner
2. Reflective Listening
Your patience should help your customer to calm down a little and at this point it is possible to start addressing the problem and finding solutions. There are many unseen skills needed to be a successful call handler and one of those is reflective listening. Reflecting upon what is actually being said rather than relying on stock phrase such as ‘that’s company policy’ or the dreaded ‘calm down’.
Reflective listening is also reinforced if you repeat the customers concerns and reiterate the issue to help the customer understand you have a clear understanding of their problem and are listening 100% to their concerns.
3. Personal Responsibility
Distancing yourself from the customer’s call and concerns will not bring you any closer to solving the problem. The caller will want answers and even if you can’t individually provide them you need to let them know that you are personally going to find them the solutions they need. You’re their point of contact and they will want you to find them what they need to know.
Work with the customer to find a solution to their problem and through showing yourself as personally dedicated to their problem, the overall customer experience should be improved.
4. Collaboration Works
Whilst the call handler needs to manage and solve the problem it can really help to bring the customer into this process and ask them what they want to happen. They may want you to do things which are unfeasible but at least you can take their opinions on board and even this will help the customer feel less irate and calmer. Asking their opinion and what they consider fair brings them into the decision making process and whilst you may have a company line to stick to you can rephrase it in a way which loosely meets their expectations.
5. Follow Up
This point is closely linked to the idea of personal responsibility and will help the reputation of the organisation in the long run. If an issue has been resolved, attempt to ensure this has been communicated to the customer. This could be from you directly or following up with your client or manager.