on March 21, 2017 Customer Experience

12 Ways Call Center Agents Can Deal With Angry Customers

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While call center technology has done a great deal to make business simpler and more streamlined– it can also complicate your interactions with your clients. In some cases, the technology that's meant to make life easier can cause frustration with your customers, leading to angry phone calls and the potential for customer service nightmares.

Fortunately, you can navigate these irate customer calls with ease by following these 12 tips:

1. Don't Take It Personally

It can be hard for agents to avoid taking an angry phone call personally, but it's critical to remember that one of their top goals is to ensure quality customer satisfaction. When you know not to take the client's anger personally, it's easy to focus, instead, on weeding through the anger to address their underlying concerns.

2. Be Reassuring

Angry customers want to be heard, and the best agents will work to reassure customers that they're listening. A simple confirmation of concerns you’re hearing (“ok, so what I’m understanding is that there’s an issue with your monthly billing?”) will calm down the customer and allow them to re-group to the reason why they called. When customers feel like they're getting their messages across, they'll calm down and get into problem-solving mode faster.

3. Be Empathetic

Empathy is as important as reassurance. When angry customers are met with empathetic agents, it's easier for them to express their problems and make it clear what solution they expect.

4. Come Back to the Facts

Facts help de-escalate angry conversations and encourage customers to define solutions to their problems. If you're confronted with an angry customer, remember to touch back on the facts of the situation ("Let me make sure I understand your problem...") to keep things between the lines.

Utilizing the power of dispositions in your call center software can be instrumental in handling customers with escalating issues. Within dispositions your agents will be able to note any problem areas for your customers. By noting these faults in your reporting, your agents will always be ready for future calls by a potentially frustrated customer with recurring issues

5. Be a Human

Few things are less attractive to customers than customer service or sales agents reading from a script. With this in mind, add personality to the conflict resolution process. When angry customers come across an inbound or sales agent who seems like an actual human (rather than a robot), they're likely to calm down faster.

Having a contact center software with dynamic scripting can offer the variety your agents need for warm and lively conversations. As well, rewarding onboarding programs like a gamified Learning Management System (LMS) can increase the efficiency of your training, and the overall morale of your call center.

Gamify My LMS

6. Proactively Provide Solutions

customers don't just want to fight: they want solutions. Even if the solution isn't the one the customer wanted or hoped for, your job is to help them understand how it resolves their problem.

Skills based routing is a feature aimed at productivity and fast solutions.This feature will intelligently route your customers to the most skilled agent that corresponds to their inquiry. A feature like skills based routing aims to reduce redundancy and raise FCR. Thus getting your customers to solutions as quickly as possible.

7. Allow the Customer to Be Angry

When you're angry, do you like it when someone cuts you off? Of course not, and your customers won't either. One of the most important steps you can take with angry customers is to allow them to be angry.

Saying things like, "I understand how you feel," and "That must be so frustrating" can help de-escalate the situation quickly.

8. Never Say "No"

Regardless of whether you're dealing with a customer who wants a refund or a new product, you should never say "no." No cuts off the line of communication and will likely make the client angrier, rather than calmer. Instead of focusing on what you can't do, focus on what you can do to help the customer.

9. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Positivity is contagious, and it will wear off on customers eventually. Instead of feeding into a client's negativity, keep a positive attitude that helps the customer understand the issue will be resolved quickly.

10. Don't Get Angry

If you get angry on a tough phone call, things will just go downhill fast. The calmer you can be, the better your conflict resolution and customer service skills will stay.

11. Take suggestions

Loyal customer get angry because they care about your company and your product. When loyal customers are angry they tend to tell you or your agents how they would like to see certain steps of your company operate. Always take these suggestions into consideration when addressing how to raise CSAT scores.

12. Never Argue Back

This should be obvious–but it may not be when an angry customer is berating an agent with little experience in the company. The worst thing you can ever do in a customer service encounter is argue back with the customer. Your agents should know they are not mad at them as individuals but at company or lack of adequate solutions. Make sure your agents are indeed staying on script when a customer’s anger becomes personal towards your agents.

Resolving Client Issues in the Age of Technology

While we all love our technology, it can make life more challenging at times, and brands that continue to use new technology should expect it to cause problems with customers on occasion. Luckily, client frustrations can be resolved by motivated, happy agents who know how to handle angry phone calls. Since motivated agents will be better suited to deal with customers, gamified contact center software can help make dealing with irate customers easier than ever before.

How to motivate my agents to end my customer’s frustrations?

Agent motivation is one of the most overlooked aspects of a successful customers. A lack of engagement and motivation in your agents seeps into the frustrations that your customers can have with your business.

Convoso, a leader in contact center gamification, refers to business gamification as, “Commonly used as an incentive to enhance productivity and growth, business gamification can be used to improve customer retention and conversion, or even to improve the employee onboarding and training processes.” In a call center, gamification adds motivation elements that have never been seen before.

By adding rewards around how your agents interact with your customers–you can ensure that your agents will always be listening to these 10 tips on how to deal with angry customers.

If angry customers is a common theme–then clearly there is a disconnect between your customers and the information you are supplying your agents. If that disconnect is in their engagement, then again gamification can be used to reinforce engaging measures in within your customer service teams.  

Gamification can do all these measures by adding game-like mechanics to previously redundant and uninviting contact centers. For more information on how gamification can help your agents click here.

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Customer Contact Central