Angry customers can be a challenge to call center agents. If they don’t know how to respond properly in critical situations, conflicts may arise. Open Access BPO explains how agents can effectively handle complaint calls from customers.
It’s common for call center agents to deal with irate customers who provoke altercations over the phone. Since an agent cannot control the mood and reaction of the person on the other line, it’s almost impossible to make sure that every call runs smoothly. But what agents can do is control how they respond to these situations. By applying effective communication techniques, a call center agent can help a frustrated customer without eliciting conflict.
Listening and showing genuine care
Attentively listening to the customer’s concerns without interrupting is one way of allowing the frustration to cool down. Agents must only ask questions that are relevant to the problems presented by the caller.
Rapport can be established by showing genuine desire to assist the customers with their needs. A customer is more likely to cooperate with an agent who sounds empathic and sincere over the phone. Agents must also acknowledge the customer’s disappointment and apologize if the company is the one at fault.
Setting personal feelings aside
It’s important for agents to stay calm and neutral in the entire duration of a complaint call. If they respond aggressively or express contradiction, a customer can become agitated even more. Agents must remember that upset customers are not mad at them, but are dissatisfied with the company as a whole. Hence, they must not let their own emotions or opinions interfere with their interaction with the customers.
Resolving the problem
Agents must reassure the customers that necessary measures will be taken to resolve the issues they are facing. The customers must know the steps that are about to be taken and how long they have to wait before the issue gets resolved.
However, agents should also not overpromise things without having a clear plan in mind. This is why every customer support call center must orient all of its agents to be well-versed with all the customer support processes in order for them to think of resolution plans quickly.
While instructing customers about what they can expect, agents must always emphasize that the customers’ satisfaction is the company’s priority. Hence, even if the issue doesn’t get resolved at the very moment, special attention should still be given to the concerns raised by the customers. They must know that even if the issue is escalated or transferred to another department, the same quality of assistance will be given to them.
Agents must also be trained how to track progress of cases. Customers must be able to receive updates about their reported concerns either through phone or e-mail.
How call center agents handle critical call situations, such as those involving irate customers, can either aggravate the customers’ disappointment or appease the callers’ anger. It is therefore important for call centers to train their agents on how to sound empathetic over the phone in order to avoid having conflicts with customers.