As the ones who directly interact with customers, your call center reps are the face of your company. How they handle transactions and react to every people they talk to can make or break your relationship with customers. Although customers may sometimes act unreasonable, agents must always stay calm and treat them with respect.
Follow these tips that will guide you and your agents in resolving conflicts and delivering excellent customer service.
1. Prepare a script.
A script helps agents focus on the issues at hand and prevents them from getting distracted by customers’ rambling. This allows them to lead the conversation to the right direction. Moreover, a script can guide agents using the right words and phrases to use when dealing with all types of customers, including the most difficult ones.
Here’s a sample guide you can use when talking to different types of customers.
Description: Frustrated customers tend to rant about their problems on and on and may blow their complaints out of proportion.
How to handle them: Agents must take the situation seriously and empathize with the customer.
What to say:
• “I’m sorry that you feel this way. May I suggest that…”
• “We really do appreciate this feedback. What I’ll do right now to solve this issue is… “
Description: You can easily identify this type of customer with their high-pitched tone of voice and generous use of insults.
How to handle them: Agents shouldn’t have to put up with abusive customers, but they’re encouraged to be professional while dealing with them. Emotional preparedness also comes in handy.
What to say:
• “I’m going to do my very best to help you, but if you continue to use profanity, I will be forced to end this call…”
• “I truly understand your concern and I’m sorry that you’re upset, but we can’t resolve this if you’re not willing to calm down and cooperate.“
Description: Threat-makers are often mistaken for the abusive customer. This type of customer tries to get their way through intimidation.
How to handle them: Agents should stick to their guns but at the same time strive to stay level-headed and professional and show empathy.
What to say:
• “I do understand the inconvenience this has caused you, but I’d appreciate it if you can be cooperative…”
• “Let me see how I can fix this…“
2. Use the correct tone of voice.
A study suggests that there are three elements that make up good communication:
• words used (7%)
• tone of voice (38%)
• body language (55%)
However, call center interactions are mostly limited to the first two only—the actual words used and the speakers’ tone of voice. Thus, you should focus on these when talking to customers.
The right tone of voice can be achieved if agents have the right attitude. They must sound friendly, warm, and professional at all times, helping uplift the mood of the conversation.
3. Take a timeout.
If the conversation is no longer productive, consider putting the customer on hold. This gives customers a moment to calm down or rethink their attitude. This also gives them a fresh start and tackle the issue from a different angle.
4. Monitor and evaluate calls.
Assess the performance of your customer support agents can help you spot and identify what they need to improve, therefore increasing their efficiency at conflict resolution. While this process may be uncomfortable for some agents, it will help you build a more effective customer service team.