Facing abuse at a call centre?


Call centre executives are experiencing increased abusive and hate phone calls from their international customers.

Are you one of these employees?  What should you do to counter the rage you know has really nothing to do with you?

Nasha Fitter, BPO training expert and the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a training provider to BPO personnel, corporates and individuals, has some useful tips to offer:

1. Remember, it is not about you
Think back to a time where you lost your cool with a customer service agent or service employee when you were having a bad day.

Your anger did not stem from the actual customer service problem; it stemmed from a personal issue you were facing that day.

Does that make you an awful person? Of course not. Keep in mind that when people are frustrated, they say things they may not necessarily mean.

2. Count from one to 10
This will help you to become more patient as well as increase your level of concentration. While counting, think of something that makes you happy.

3. Keep your voice calm
It has a calming effect on the customer and conveys that you are in control. People lose respect for those who can’t control their anger.

4. Politely request the customer to speak slowly and clearly
Ask your team leader what your company’s rules for abusive customers are.  Find out if you are able to tell them to lower their volume, watch their language or simply hang up the call.

5. Getting agitated? Keep the customer on hold
Do this for a second or two, take a deep breath and get back to your call.

6. Listen to classical music
Bring a Walkman, Discman or Mp3 player to work; make sure you have some classical music. Classical music has been found to help people calm down their agitated nerves and think clearly.

7. Is your call getting out a hand? Transfer it to your team leader/ supervisor
She/ he could step in and tackle the customer.

8. De-stress with a breathing technique or yoga
After an abusive phonecall, use the de-stressing facilities at your workplace. Do breathing exercises at your desk or in the bathroom. Fast breathing followed quickly by slow breathing can do a lot to calm your nerves. Jumping around, even for a minute, or punching the air can help to release frustration.

9. Press the mute button and swear back
As your customer rattles off the abuses, you may be tempted to press the mute button and swear back silently, even as you switch to your sweetest tone when talking to him or her.

10. Chat with your team leader
Had a very taxing day with too many distressing calls? She/ he will play counsellor and reassure you the abuse was directed at the company, not at you.

The last word
As a customer service executive, it is important to empathise with the customer instead of viewing him/ her as the enemy. A positive and mature attitude is what will really make you excel at your job and do well in the service industry.

Published On: 6th Dec 2005 - Last modified: 21st Feb 2019
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