How Do You Deal With Call Escalation?

Call Centre Operator

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I Want to Talk to Your Manager

The team I work in are currently working on a project dealing with call escalation, and the way call escalation is managed once the first point of contact has failed.

Has anybody got any tips for the following areas:

  1. How to empower the agents to deal with phrase “I want to talk to your manager” or I want to talk to somebody with more experience”
  2. How to get a positive outcome from the person taking the escalation?
  3. How not to get in a argument with customer?
  4. Just hint and tips that can be delivered to call centre

Question asked by Anthony

How to Deal With Call Escalations

You can read this article on How to deal with call escalations

With thanks to Amy

Scenarios of Escalation

Obviously, the key is to not let it get to the point where they are asking to speak to a manager in the first place. I am assuming that your front-line agents do the best job that they can within the rules/constraints you have set for them, but it still doesn’t satisfy some of your customers.

Now, the key to a unhappy customers is that something was not to their expectation. Perhaps you failed to keep a promise, or a product/service is not up to scratch. There are two scenarios I can think of when it comes to an upset customer.

Scenario A – The customer immediately asks to be put through to a manager as soon as the call is connected…

Scenario B – The conversation descends to a state where the caller asks to speak to a manager.

How to Deal with Scenario A:

I will Deal with Scenario A, where the caller immediately asks to speak to a manager.

The tips I would share with your agents are:

  1. Get the caller to “open up”. How do you do this? Firstly acknowledge that the caller is upset. something like:“oh, I’m sorry sir that you’re unhappy… I am guessing that you’re unhappy about something we’ve done…” get the customer to agree and acknowledge… get them to say “YES”.

Saying yes, psychologically is very potent. I know it’s a bit cheesy… but from the customer’s end, they will be thinking that your agent is starting to understand my problem.

  1. Once your caller has described the issue… the agent needs to take a decision on whether they can actually resolve the problem them-self or if it does indeed need to be escalated.

If the agent can resolve it locally, the agent should inform the caller and ask if they can resolve it for them… hopefully, the rapport you have created previously will get your caller to say yes.

  1. Sometimes this is not always the case, and on occasion you will get callers who simply want to feel like the matter is being escalated. This is OK, as you have to cater to a wide range of personalities and traits in a contact centre.

Once again, it is about one of affirmation to the caller that your business is taking their issue seriously. Once of the things I recommend never doing is to immediately transfer the call to a manager right there and then.

Usually the caller is too worked up and noes not normally portray the right sense of gravitas when it comes to a manager speaking to a customer, compared to a call centre operative. I suggest informing that a manager will be call them back in the next few minutes.

But the key thing here is that you will keep your promise! You must keep this promise in order to begin to rebuild the caller’s trust in your business and make it clear to the caller that you have called them back.

Once again this helps to disarm the caller and creates a more cooperative environment to resolve the matter.

There are loads of other techniques and methods to help diffuse situations like this

With thanks to Gene

A Complaint is a Gift

When it reaches a level of authority within an organisation it can take a slightly different tone.

A Complaint is a Gift

I fully subscribe to the “Complaint is a Gift” methodology of complaint management. If you haven’t heard of it before, then google it, and get the book. It’s an excellent guide to how to turn a complaining customer around.

Firstly. The key thing to remember is, by them contacting you in the first place, they are holding enough trust in your business to resolve the matter for them. And the issue of their complaint is an opportunity to potentially improve your business.

So, one of the simplest things that a supervisor can do to immediately calm a customer down is to thank them for taking the time of expressing the problem to them.

Something like, “Firstly, Mr Jones, Thank you for sharing this issue with us. We don’t always get it right and its important for our customers to have faith in our ability to resolve issues like this”.

In any other situation, when you say “thank you”, the other person will say “Your welcome”. This is a good first step to working cooperatively to resolving the issue.

What is the Resolution that the Customer Wants?

The next thing to explore is, to determine what the customer is looking for regarding resolution. It could be a refund, a replacement of an item, it could simply be the fact that they want to talk to someone, and they may not necessarily be looking for compensation of any kind.

But once the matter has been clearly defined, it is usually worth while to ask the caller how they would like this resolved. This is not as volatile a question as you may think.

Most of the time the caller will simply want the matter resolved quickly. Sometimes it can get trickier than that… it really does depend on the circumstances and is beyond our ability to flesh it out in this forum.

This is just a start to try to help diffuse a customer. However, studies have clearly shown time and time again that if you can successfully resolve a complaint with a customer, you will likely create a longer term advocate of your business. This will have a very positive effect on your customer retention and customer delight.

With thanks to Gene

Customer Wants to Speak to a Manager

The main objective here to keep the customer happy.

  • Remain calm and friendly on the call despite the fact that they may be unsatisfied and not entirely forthcoming.
  • Advise them that you may be able to help with their query before escalating the call to a manager.
  • If they still insist on speaking to a manager, or if you are unable to help them, the best thing to do is to respect their request.
  • Perhaps you could transfer the customer to a Team Leader initially before escalating to senior managers, as customers are usually satisfied as long as they believe they are speaking to somebody with authority.
  • Of course, if a customer becomes offensive or abusive you should ask them to remain calm and suggest that they call back when they have.

With thanks to MarketpointGlobal

Call Escalation

Chances are, a customer calling the call centre may be having a bad day.

At such times it is advised that agents adopt a helpful approach and treat every customer with respect.

Agents need to listen more closely to customer concerns in order to effectively handle customer objections and satisfy their needs.

With thanks to Simon

How to Deal With Call Escalation?

Well, you can use your internal steps of first-level-support to third-level-support to deescalate a problem.

Most important for this is, your first-level-agent doesn’t act stubborn but try to understand the caller’s problem. Best way for doing this is to ask without making assumptions. Because if you assume, you xxx u & me.

If your first level agent isn’t able to catch the problem, handle the call to a supportive senior agent. He/she’s presumably more experienced and can ask better questions.

Best way of de-escalation is to show the customer, it’s going a step forward. You can also offer him your supervisor will call him back in a couple of minutes. This calms customers down and bring them in a defensive position because now they got called and this is a sign for “they take it serious.”

In short: there are a lot of solutions how to deescalate calls. You just must be creative within the structures your team is in.

With thanks to Walter

An Article for Dealing With Call Escalations

You can find Call Centre Helper’s great article on dealing with call escalation requests here: ‘How to Handle Call Escalations

I hope it helps!

With thanks to charlie.mitchell

Transferring the Call to the Manager

I’d like to offer an alternative solution to handling call escalations, that differs from offering a call back. I have found that offering a call back can antagonise an already unhappy customer further – what they want is to get the issue resolved and, quite possible, have a good rant in the process!

As a manager, I am happy to take transferred calls – I have found this a perfect opportunity for the caller to let off serious steam to me; I have the experience to know that it is not personal.

This is also the perfect opportunity to thank the caller for raising the issue directly with me, as the manager, compliment them on spotting a mistake, get their suggestions for improvements and empower my team in the eyes of the customer.

I have often told customers that I am fortunate to be surrounded by experts who are the right people to solve their problem or concern; I’m happy to take the heat, de-fuse the tension and hand the caller back to the agent who can solve the problem, if appropriate or necessary and, more often than not, receive the thanks and praise from a satisfied customer!

With thanks to Mel

Author: Jonty Pearce

Published On: 12th Apr 2022 - Last modified: 14th Apr 2022
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