Working in a customer service position can be incredibly stressful at times. It’s common for callers to be angry, and this anger often gets thrust upon employees who didn’t necessarily play a part in the issue. Diffusing the situation requires you to understand the caller’s mindset and effectively come up with a viable solution. Here are some specific steps to take when dealing with an angry caller in your customer service position.
Let Them Vent
Callers in this situation have a bone to pick with the company. Maybe there was an error or wrongdoing. Or maybe there was just some type of inefficiency along the way. Regardless of the specific circumstance, it’s a good idea to let the caller vent and get things off their chest.
Remember, they won’t calm down until you do, and interrupting or barking back is only going to escalate the situation The best thing you can do is give them a chance to air their grievances before continuing. This should make them more receptive to hearing what you have to say and ultimately coming up with a solution.
Show You’re Listening
Angry callers want to know they’re being heard and the company genuinely cares about their concern. What you want to do is to practice active listening “where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying, but more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent.”
Concentrate on what the caller’s underlying issue is and allow them to get their point across. A simple way to show that you’re listening is to use words like “I understand.” Also be sure to show empathy and caring and try to establish some level of rapport with the caller.
Don’t Get Personal
It’s human nature to become a little defensive in a situation like this when it feels like you’re under personal attack. But remember usually you’re not the one that the caller has a problem with. You just happen to be the one interacting with them at the moment. Try not to take it too personally and “detach yourself” from the issue. Remember your training. Use your past experiences and be confident in your approach!
Apologize If Someone Made a Mistake
When it’s clear that a mistake was made somewhere along the way, go ahead and apologize. This can defuse many situations. If you can find a solution, then tell them what it is or what you have to do to find one. Be honest and upfront about it so that you can work through the issue more efficiently.
Working in a customer service position isn’t always easy, especially when you routinely deal with angry callers. But developing the right formula to handle this type of situation will help you minimize unnecessary friction and make things more pleasant for both you and the caller.
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