How to handle difficult calls

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How to handle difficult calls

  1. 1. LET THE CALLER TALK Once the caller has got you on the phone and started on their grievance, it is best to let it run. If things are serious it could last twenty minutes, but as far as possible let the person say what they want to say. They will not be ready to listen to you until they have said all the words they have stored up for this moment.
  2. 2. NOTE THE FACTS While the person is talking, take notes of the key points of fact they make, and the words they use to describe their feelings. Ignore comments about yourself or others unless they contain a fact about the situation.
  3. 3. PLAN YOUR RESPONSE You may be able to think about your response while the person is talking. If you work in customer care and this is a complaint about a situation, you can plan out how to respond to the situation, and ignore the emotional context of the call.
  4. 4. BEFORE HANGING UP Thank the person for calling. Whatever you may be feeling, it is probably better that the caller expressed their views to you rather than bottle them up.
  5. 5. AFTER HANGING UP If you have been affected by the call, get up and do something else for a few minutes. Try to find a colleague to have a talk to about the call, or at least find someone with whom you can discuss the weather.
  6. 6. IF IT`S PERSONAL You do not have to listen to anyone who makes bullying or aggressive comments to you. Nor do you have to listen to malicious gossip about other people. If callers are behaving in an aggressive, bullying or intimidating manner you should interrupt, say that you do not wish to continue with the call, and ask them to stop. If they continue, you should hang up. This applies, even if the substance of a complaint is valid. Even if you have made a mistake, and are responsible for the situation that has triggered the call, you still do not have to listen to personal invective. If a call has been very personal about you, make sure that you find someone to talk it over with and if necessary discuss what has happened with the manager.

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