Tips for Challenging Callers

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Tips for Challenging Callers
Perhaps you enjoy working on the phone and meeting people that way. Some days, however, seem filled with callers who have a lot to say, and take a long time saying it. Other times, there are just challenging calls that you must get through.
In this lesson, you’ll learn about getting calls with challenging callers back on track.
Tips and Tricks
When you are at work in a busy call center, every second counts. Conversation management, therefore, is a valuable skill that you can learn. Talkative people are often interesting and enjoyable, but they can take up a lot of time on the telephone. To avoid losing valuable time, a conversation with a talkative customer must be managed
Caller Behaviors
Description What They Do What We Do
Abrupt Speak quickly.
Snap orders.
Listen to what they have to say.
Be service oriented and focus on what you can do to help.
Speak quietly and be firm.
Abusive Launch a personal attack on your ethnic background, age, sex, position, etc.
May use profanity.
Be quick.
Refuse to justify yourself.
Stay calm and defuse anger.
If abuse escalates, get your manager involved.
Record the events of the confrontation.
Angry Demand immediate action.
Often use a loud tone of voice.
Listen closely to the problem.
Ask open-ended questions.
Stay calm and don’t take it personally.
Remain courteous.
Propose an action plan – then do it!
Arrogant Exhibit a superior attitude.
Like to remind you of your place.
Know your job and do it well.
Know your company’s products and services.
Be professional and courteous.
Bully/Bossy Put you on the spot.
Enjoy baiting or teasing you.
May insult the company’s products and services.
Be firm.
Stick to business.
Ask closed questions to redirect the attack.
Be professional and courteous.
Closed-Minded Put up barriers to understanding.
Display a “prove it to me” attitude.
Often have a hidden agenda.
Ask questions to probe for hidden reasons.
Acknowledge and empathize their concerns.


Up the Mountain
Here are some common challenges and our suggestions for dealing with them.
The customer asks a question and you don’t have a ready answer.
Let the customer know that you don’t know. Ask your supervisor, look it up, or find the answer some other way.
You have to say no to a request.
Tell the customer what you can do, if appropriate, and apologize. Explain the reason that you have to say no to their request.
Your computer has slowed down to a crawl and the customer is getting irritated.
Explain that there is a problem with the computer and apologize. Use your communication techniques to stave off long periods of silence and help the customer remain engaged and comfortable.
The customer has unreasonable or even outrageous expectations that you cannot fulfill.
Emphasize what you can do for the customer and that you are committed to providing him with the best service possible.
The customer becomes angry for reasons you can or cannot determine.
Use a calm and professional voice. Acknowledge their feelings. Address them by name if possible.
The customer is skeptical of what you are telling him or her.
Offer to provide him or her with copies of documentation or proof. You could also ask for your supervisor to confirm what you have explained to the customer.