Hanging Up on 'Chatty' Customers

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Just cast my eye over the forum here, I can see a thread about hanging up on rude customers but not one about that special breed of 'chatty' customers.

We have a a problem with some of our customers, they like to talk. Sometimes this isn't a problem, 5-10 minutes listening to our customer builds the relationship, we may also be the only outside contact that customer has that day. However, we have an increasing number of customers who chat to our staff in excess of 20mins. The extreme end of this has been 2hours! In the extreme case the customer was obviously suffering some serious personal problems and trauma but our staff are not paid (nor trained!) to counsel or offer therapy. The staff member repeatedly tried to get off the call only for the customer to continue pouring out a tale of woe.

Whilst being as polite and empathic as possible, how would you end the call? Would you, if push came to shove, hang up on the customer? How do you think this would affect your customer service/company reputation? We have considered giving them help line phone numbers, do you think this is appropriate or are we going well over and above our remit?

I'd love some feedback on this issue, none of our staff want to spend hours on the phone listening to a life-story when they can see the phone lines lighting up with orders but they equally don't want to be completely heartless.

Account Manager


As much as I appreciate that you need to keep the call times to a minimum hanging up on someone is a bit harsh and un caring , you could be dealing with some quite vuneralble people who need an extra bit of tender loving care

Just my thoughts !!!

Training Manager


I believe this comes down to some simple conversation management. Well placed closed question can quickly shift the control of a conversation back to the agent who can then wrap up a call politely as if it were the norm. state what has been done on the call so the customer realises what they called for has been actioned and say thank you.

Monkey Tennis you got same as us. We always get agents to recap what happened in the call at same time they can write a wee note on account.

We have a energy firm who we answer calls and we do give customers who have personal issues we will give them various help lines for them to call.

Just do not hang up or even offer that to agents has I worked in places where agents have released calls on purpose as person wanted a break.

Thanks for the feedback folks. We would never hang up for a break, it's just not something we'd do as a company and we do want to show consideration but it can also be upsetting for staff to hear about someone's personal traumas as the staff member themselves may well be going through similar problems in their own lives.

We'll implement the recap technique and also provide a list of numbers.

Thanks folks!

I am currently looking at writing a call control session. We would never advise to hang up however as monkey tennis says well placed closed questions work well. I am trying a four step approach. Acknowledge, clarify, respond and check back will let you know if it works

Closed end questions
I have used "Closed end" questions. It's amazing how callers will provide more than a "yes" or "no" answer. Call controll doesn't always work and there are those who will accuse the agent of being rude when applying that method but truth is, rude people themselves to accuse others of being rude.

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