When a Customer Makes Persistent and Frequent Phone Calls By VanSight
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The Situation A customer who calls over and over again when there is No clear constructive point in doing so is enough to drive Any employee to frustration. Customers do this kind of thing for various reasons—perhaps in the hope of being So annoying the employee will give them the answer they Want or simply because they are exceedingly anxious. Apart from being annoying, the bigger problem is that Persistent and pointless phone calls interfere with getting Real work done and serving other customers. While you can’t really control who calls and how often, there are Some things you can try. 3
Techniques Used 4 Broken Record Acknowledge Customer’s Needs Finding Agreement Points Setting Limits
Dialogue 5 In this situation, the caller wants to speak to the manager, who is away from his desk for most of the day. During the First call, the employee who answers explains that the manager Will be unable to return the call today, but will likely do so tomorrow. Unfortunately, about minutes later the customer Calls again, asking if the manager is in yet.
Dialogue 6 Customer: This is John Smith. I called earlier, but I need to know if the manager is back yet. Employee: As I said, he won’t be available until at least tomorrow. I will make sure he knows you urgently want to talk to him. Customer: OK. Bye. About an hour later, the customer calls again and repeats the question.
Dialogue 7 Employee: Mr. Smith, I realize you are anxious to speak to the manager and I’ve promised you I’ll convey a sense Of urgency to him. You can save yourself a lot of time by waiting until you hear from us tomorrow, and I’d really like to ask you to refrain from calling until Tomorrow. Customer: Yeah, well, I’ll do what I want. Employee: I’m sure you will. If you do call back today, though, your call is simply going to get routed to voice Mail. Best to wait until tomorrow.
Explanations 8 This is a difficult situation because the customer controls whether he calls back or not; the employee can only encourage restraint. The basic approach is to avoid getting into an argument by doing a “broken record” of the same message—that the manager is not available and will call tomorrow. Despite this, the customer calls back again, asking the same question. Once again the employee uses the broken Record, but couples this with an acknowledgment that the caller feels the situation is urgent. The customer does not respond favorably and indicates he will do what He wants. Rather than arguing, the employee agrees that he can do as he pleases. The employee also sets a limit. He indicates that further calls will not be answered and will simply go to Voice mail. In other words, he is trying to get across the Point that additional calls will simply waste the caller’s Time. Of course, if the employee lacks the facility to do this (caller ID), then this particular consequence won’t work. A second option for setting limits goes like this. “I appreciate that you want to speak to the manager, but if You call again today, I’m not going to be able to speak to You, except to repeat what I’ve already told you.” And then enforce that consequence/limit.
How to Diffuse the Situation 9 The worst thing you can do is get angry or let your frustration Show, since this will almost always precipitate an argument, which will eat up more of your time. You can explain why you can’t continue to respond to the same questions, but the challenge is to do so in a way that does not send the message that you have “more important things to do.” If the customer gets that message from you, whether implicit or explicit, an argument is likely.
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