GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

How to tackle abusive customers

angry woman with phoneIt is a fact of life that call centres often have to deal with difficult customers. In fact, by their very nature, telephone answering services can bear the brunt of many consumer frustrations, with people calling to discuss issues with their purchased products and services. Even though a lot of these interactions may be civil, some individuals become abusive, and it is essential that call centre agents are trained to deal with such situations.

Call centres have a duty of care toward their agents, and this includes protecting workers from client abuse. When customers become aggressive, there is the opportunity for agents to simply end the call. However, in general, staff should look to warn people about their behaviour at least three times before hanging up.

Language is very important when dealing with this type of caller, and there are certain phrases that can be used in an attempt to calm people down. For example, “You seem very upset, Mr Smith. Would you prefer to continue this conversation through email or post?” can be a good way to deflate a bad situation, whilst “I’m sorry you’re so upset, Mr Smith. Would you like us to call you back when you feel a little calmer?” can also work well.

If the situation escalates, agents can use a phrase like “I apologise, Mr Smith, but if you continue to use this language, I will be forced to end this call,” before terminating the conversation.

Use of the correct language can calm matters, and it can even turn a negative situation into a positive experience. However, it is vital that call centre agents are trained correctly in the first place.

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