It happens to every contact/call
center. How you respond can make
all the difference.
Every contact/call center agent has at least one or two stories
about an irate customer. It is both the worst nightmare and
an inevitability of every contact/call center. While your
organization may sincerely try their best to deliver an
impeccable customer experience, there still will come a day
where a customer call turns sour.
Here are some helpful tips for achieving a successful
Though obvious, it needs to be stated. The
absolute worst thing a contact/call center agent
can do is match the customer’s level of anger. It
will only serve to exacerbate the situation and
guarantee an unfortunate conclusion. Remain
calm and maintain your patience when dealing
with an upset customer.
The customer is clearly upset, and that anger is
coming from a disconnect between their
expectation of service and the actual result. Let
them explain the problem to you without
interruption. It can be helpful to put your end of
the call on mute so as to prevent the urge to
interject. This will also give you some time to
collect yourself and prepare a response.
Use the Customer’s Name.
There is power in using someone’s name. It
establishes a connection, and conveys to the
customer that you’re speaking to them as a
human being and not as an account number.
Before using a first name, be sure to ask, “May I
call you Tiffany, Mrs. Johnson?” The customer
may want to maintain a level of formality, and
that should be respected.
Focus on a Solution.
Apologies are cheap. You should absolutely
apologize in the conversation, but if that is all
you’re doing, it is going to be ineffective. After
listening to the customer’s complaint in full, steer
the direction towards what you are going to do to
fix it. You need to change the focus of the
conversation from their anger (a negative)
towards your solution (a positive).
Send a Follow Up Email.
After the call is complete, send a follow-up email
thanking the customer for their patronage and for
bringing this problem to your attention. Offer
additional assistance and an open door if they
wish to contact you again. It gives you the
opportunity to get the final word in after the call,
and hopefully leave the customer with a good
The Real Work Begins
After the Call…
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