You don’t have to work long in an office before you run into a caller with a compliant. If you’re lucky that caller will have plenty of time, speak clearly, define their problem, and patiently wait for you to track down a solution.
However, it is more likely that that caller will be irate, frustrated, and ready to fight over what they perceive to be a personal wrong. But remember, when you receive these calls all is not lost. Take time to consider that their complaint isn’t against you personally, shield your own emotions from theirs, and use these seven strategies to help alleviate their anger and, hopefully, retain them as a customer or client in the future.
Table of Contents
1. Listen and Be Patient
“Tell me exactly what happened.” When an individual dials in with a compliant or you notice they are verbally irritated, it is important that you invite them to share their story in full without interruption. Trying to talk over a caller or ask questions before they’ve spoken their piece can often make the call go worse as the caller feels antagonized or ignored. Instead, listen carefully and, if necessary, allow the caller to vent their frustration before you proceed to a solution.
2. Acknowledge their Feelings
“I would feel the same way.” Most callers have a good reason for the irritation they are feeling. Acknowledge and accept those emotions in a respectful manner that shows that you are on the caller’s side and will work to find a solution that benefits them.
“I’m sorry this happened.” The problem the customer is experiencing is not your fault. However, as a representative of the company behind the product or service giving them trouble you are in a position of responsibility in the customer’s eyes. Apologizing directly can validate the caller and help further defuse their temper.
4. Re-Define the Problem
“So, if I’m understanding you correctly, your system has been going down all morning.” Trying to solve the wrong problem can take a rough call and turn it into a disaster. Before you get down to work, take the main points from the customer’s complaint and re-state them clearly and simply. This can lead to confirmation or, if there has been a miscommunication, a more illuminating discussion of the problem that points you in the right direction and shortens your solution time.
5. Avoid False Promises
“I’ll do everything I can, however…” Not all problems are solvable during a simple phone call. If there is a chance that the customer’s problem may take a week to resolve, don’t promise to have it fixed tomorrow. Be up front with your limits and avoid dashed expectations in the future.
6. Step By Step Solutions
“First, I need you to…” When a caller is angry their blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline levels all climb, making it hard for them to communicate effectively, listen, and retain information. This can make problem solving difficult, and often necessitates simple, jargon-free communication methods that break a task down into very small steps.
7. Answer Calls Quickly
Nothing makes a caller angrier than a long drawn out hold time before their call is answered. Get more callers in touch with humans faster and your customer service results will benefit. To help, Reliable Receptionist offers affordable virtual receptionist service to put callers on the line with the right staff member to resolve their problems. Transfers, forwarding, announcing, appointment, and message services are available.
Don’t settle for a computer or some answering service. Try Reliable Receptionist today at (925) 627-4200.