At a Loss for Words with Angry Callers?
As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life.” Usually that’s a good thing. Variety keeps life from becoming mundane and makes every day a bit more exciting because there’s no guarantee of what’s to come. However, in the call center, variety can cause some serious headaches for agents. Every caller is different, and there’s really no way to be prepared for every single scenario possible.
This is especially true when it comes to angry callers. Not only are agitated callers unpredictable, but there’s no magic formula that agents can use to calm them all down. Why? Because of variety. There are several different kinds of angry callers, so agents need to be able to identify which ones are which and then determine how to handle each situation.
According to Call Centre Helper, there are several kinds of angry callers, so we’ll take a look at three of the most common: The Offloader, The Legitimate Grievance and The Threat-Maker (everyone’s absolute favorite).
The Offloader is someone who most likely doesn’t have an actual problem with the product or company. More often than not, this kind of caller is just going through a tough time and needs to take out their anger on someone else. Since call center agents literally get paid to listen, these callers tend to target them (although they could also try a therapist). As a result, these people call to complain about even the most minor details. The best option here is to offer solutions to their problems with phrases such as “May I suggest that…?” or “What I’ll do right now is…”
Meanwhile, The Legitimate Grievance caller is the opposite of The Offloader because these callers have real concerns. The company or product has failed the customer in some way, and there’s a risk that they might publicize their grievances online, especially if the customer support call isn’t handled well. In these situations, it’s best to call over the call center manager so they can take the lead, while offering empathetic phrases such as “Thank you so much for your patience, Sir/Ma’am…” and “I will action this for you right away…” and “I’m so sorry to hear about this, Sir/Ma’am…”
Next up, we have The Threat-Maker, who seeks to get the results they want by emotional or even physical intimidation. It’s important for agents to remember that the vast majority of these threats are empty, but that doesn’t make listening to them any easier. When dealing with these callers, agents have to stay their course. Don’t make promises to appease them, and try not to let them get to your head. Agents need to walk a fine line between staying firm and remaining sympathetic to whatever the problem is (after all, they’re still customers. No matter how rude they are). Helpful phrases here are all about getting the caller off the phone as quickly as possible: “For the quickest resolution, I would request you to…” and ““I recommend that you (insert action here), Sir/Madam, so that I can take further action without delay.”
Call Centre Helper cites various other types of angry callers as well but, in my opinion, these three are the worst. At the end of the day, though, they’re all still customers, and it’s important to try to help them in any way possible. However, if anyone ever becomes too abusive or unreasonable, agents should know that they can turn to their call center managers for support.
Edited by Maurice Nagle