Skilful use of language to calm an angry customer is a vital part of an agent’s skill set and here’s a list of potential phrases capable of defusing any situation in a fashionable manner.
We will also discuss the four most frequent angry personality types alongside with the appropriate responses which will aid you in tackling even the most difficult ones.
Keep in mind that every customer is unique and some of them will be a mixed breed of two or sometimes more personality traits. These particular cases can be tricky so approach with caution and choose the best response.
The Anger Venter
Most of the time this caller will have no legitimate reason to rage at your enterprise. They probably suffered personal strain and just need to vent and your staff will be the target their anger will rain down upon – complaints will be blown out of proportions often inflating the most minute matter.
This type is quite frustrating to deal with as most contact centre agents encountered a legitimately furious customer at least once in their career and The Anger Venter type, in comparison, will just seem like a waste of time and energy.
Treat him with respect and take him seriously.
- “I’m so sorry that you feel this way, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “As a solution, may I suggest that…?”
- “What I’ll do right now is…”
- “We really do appreciate this feedback, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “May I arrange for an update call, at a time most convenient for you?”
The Legitimate Problem
Everyone makes mistakes, that’s a fact and most of the time those are forgivable. However, from time to time, enterprises miss their quality of service by such a large margin that when an experienced agent hears about the level of incompetence it boggles their mind.
This particular archetype of an unsatisfied customer in the most important one on the list by far. You as a company failed to deliver and now they’re back with a vengeance. One which needs to be sated.
Your agents should quickly escalate the matter but also provide immediate comfort him; be empathetic and reassure him that everything will be fixed before he even notices.
- “Thank you so much for letting us know about this, Sir/Madam…”
- “I’m so sorry to hear about this, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “I completely understand how you feel, Sir/Madam…”
- “Thank you so much for your patience/understanding, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “I will action this for you right away…”
The Profanity Spewer
The Spewer is quite a fascinating specimen, easy to identify thanks to his high pitch roar and the overwhelming amounts of profanities he spews out.
Contact centre agents will welcome this particular customer with open arms as this is one of the few and rare interactions, during which they are allowed to terminate the call.
No employee should put up with personal abuse but the standard within the industry deems it necessary for the agent to warn the customer at least thrice before ending the conversation.
Train your staff on the emotional side of dealing with obscene callers, there is no excuse for consultants “going off the rails” themselves or spewing profanities back.
- “I truly understand your concern, Sir/Madam, but unfortunately we cannot tolerate the kind of language you are using right now…”
- “I’m going to do my very best to help you, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “You seem very upset, Mrs Anyperson. Would you prefer to continue this conversation through email or post?”
- “I’m sorry you’re so upset, Sir/Madam. Would you like for us to call you back when you feel a little calmer?”
- “I apologise, Mrs Anyperson, but if you continue to use this language, I will be forced to end this call.”
During the initial contact, often mistakenly identified as The Profanity Spewer but after closer examination, it becomes quite clear they’re a different beast altogether. The former’s intention is to insult the agent into cessation, the latter seeks to resolve his problem through emotional and sometimes physical intimidation.
Remember that insufficient re-compensation will only encourage more complaints. Keep in mind that despite being unpleasant and harassing your staff he is still a vital customer who is an essential source of revenue. Call takers should strive to balance their response between cool-headed formality and empathy.
- “I do understand the inconvenience you’ve faced, Sir/Madam…”
- “Let me see how I can fix this, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “I recommend that you (insert action here), Sir/Madam, so that I can take further action without delay.”
- “I am more than happy to help you, Mrs Anyperson…”
- “For the quickest resolution, I would request you to…”
We do hope the guidelines and phrases above will prove useful in recognising troublesome customer archetypes. The biggest takeaway from such encounters is to remember one simple fact: we’re all human, we make mistakes and we do let our emotions get the better of us.