When customers are reaching out to your call center, they’re often at the point of inconvenience, frustration, or stress. Because of the emotionally charged nature of their specific issues, customers may end up acting rudely to your call center agents. Since occasionally unpleasant customers are par for the course in a call center, prepare your team on the best practices to effectively de-escalate and resolve these interactions. Handle rude customers in a call center with these tips:
Distance Yourself Emotionally
When dealing with an encounter with a rude customer, it’s critical to remember to not take it personally. Even if they direct a negative remark at you, it truly isn’t you they’re upset about, it’s the situation. Pause, take a deep breath, and remind yourself to not allow yourself to get emotionally invested in the moment.
Try to Understand Their Perspectives
Instead of making a snap judgment that a customer’s rude behavior is just because they are a bad person, stop and try to empathize with what they’re going through. Validate their feelings by acknowledging that you understand why they are upset. This can help alleviate the tension on both ends.
Often customers who are upset just want to vent, and then they’ll start to calm down. Rather than trying to immediately talk and explain what you’re going to do, give them a chance to speak their mind while you actively listen. Ask questions, repeat back their responses, and acknowledge you’re listening through interjections (even a simple, “Uh huh” or “I see…”).
Talk Through the Steps
When a customer is riled up, they are likely to jump to negative conclusions about how you’re handling it. Prevent the situation from escalating by being open with your problem-solving process. Communicate the possible solutions to the issue. Avoid putting them on hold, and describe the steps as you take them (such as saying “I’m currently looking up your account information”) so they don’t feel ignored and likely to get more upset.
End on a Positive Note
As you finish dealing with the issue, make it a point to complete the interaction in a positive manner. Take ownership and apologize if a mistake was made that caused the issue, or once again acknowledge that you understand the situation has been difficult for them. Before ending the call, ask if there’s anything else they need help with to show that you care about their experience.
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