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How to Deal With Difficult Customers in a Contact Centre


A picture of a man closing his eyes with steam coming out of his earsa

Josh O’Farrell of Spearline shares four expert tips for better handling contacts from difficult customers.

Everyone has their bad days. Frustration is something we all face, sometimes even on a daily basis, and we can accidentally take it out on the wrong person.

For call centre agents, they can sometimes be facing over 100 frustrated callers a day and that can be extremely testing.

But not every difficult customer has to be a difficult experience.

For an agent to keep a cool head and to ensure the customer gets the best experience (they are always right, after all) be sure to check out these tips on how to deal with difficult customers the correct way.

1. Never Get Heated With the Customer

Patience is extremely vital when dealing with a customer, and a difficult one can be more than testing. But you need to have the moral high ground and try not to take anything personally.

Don’t try to talk over or argue with the customer. Be sure to take a breath if the customer is acting irrationally and let them vent it out.Responding with more anger will just further escalate the issue, delaying any resolution.

Alternatively, reassure the client that you are there to help them and are their best immediate chance to fix the problem. This simple statement usually tends to defuse the situation.

Your calm demeanor and a lowered tone will also reflect on them and will help them to settle down.

2. Be Empathetic With Your Customer

Going from the previous point, arguing or shouting over the customer is the worst tactic when defusing a situation.

Be empathetic. Listen to their problem, demonstrate that you understand their issues and that you are the support they need. The customer will appreciate you listening and using the correct verbal cues.

The best way to go about this is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about the times when you have had to speak to someone on a call and how frustrated you might have become.

If an agent repeats the facts and apologizes with empathy, an irate customer is sure to calm down.

3. Minimize On-Hold Times

One of the worst things anyone could face on a call is being put on hold for a long time. The customer’s patience is already worn down when they’re calling in, and being put on hold for a long time will only push more buttons.

No matter how nice the service your agents provide, the customer will feel that their issue is not being prioritized if they’re left with lengthy on-hold music.

While it is impossible to eliminate waiting time, at least in the current period, there are many strategies that businesses may employ to reduce the on-hold time.

Shorter waiting times keep the customers happy and ultimately make them much more comfortable and satisfied with the services.

Be sure to always empathize with the customer once they get through too!

4. Ensure Call Quality Is Optimal

Something for management to be wary of for their business is to have excellent call quality for both their agents and customers.

Similar to long on-hold times, the customer’s frustration will be amplified if the call quality is extremely poor.

They are trying to explain their situation and want to get it resolved quickly, but having to repeat it multiple times due to poor audio quality will only aggravate them more and drop the call.

By proactively monitoring your numbers, you will be alerted and given the time to fix any issues your agents could be facing. Customers will trust a business that they know has good audio quality.

Not only will it help speed up the process in resolving the issue, but it will become less hassle for your agents, while also being extremely cost-effective.

Nobody said dealing with customers was going to be easy, but there are ways to ensure both sides have a smoother, hassle-free experience.

Be sure to implement these tried, tested and successful steps to provide your customers with the best possible experience when calling your contact centre.

For more information about Spearline, visit: www.spearline.com

Published On: 19th Dec 2019 - Last modified: 7th Jan 2020
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