Sunday, September 30, 2012


On this post, I'll answer one of the most frequently asked Call Center Interview Question. Let me tell you the steps on "How to Deal or Pacify an irate Caller". You don't have to be a genius to know the basics. It's so important to learn how to deal with different kinds of callers, especially, those who are irate. Because, it will somewhat give you a very nice feeling, if you learn how to calm down an irate customer. Let's go back to the basics.


Learn how to Listen - At the beginning of the call, after you say your opening script. Don't disregard whatever your caller will tell you. It might give you some hint on the real issue, and save your time from asking a bunch of non-sense questions. Without learning first how to Listen, you can never Improve your English Communication Skills. Yes, you might need to probe, but, give them time to vent out. A caller or customer might be upset to the service or the company that you are working for. But, for sure, it's not a direct attack on you. Let them tell you what they feel, what they think, and what they probably understand. Listen for every smallest details that you can use to address their issue immediately. After they are done talking, then, that's the time that you do the talking. It will help you avoid verbal collision as well. While listening, you can also run your tools on your computer to further assist them, it will also save your time.

Apologize Sincerely - After you hear everything your caller told you, make sure that you acknowledge them. It is not difficult to say, "I'm so sorry for the inconvenience." Let's not forget that it's not just about reading your script, it's actually how you say it. It won't hurt, if you could say it from the heart. Sincerely apologize for the following:
  • Wasted Time - You have to acknowledge, and apologize for the wait time that they had to endure while they are waiting for you to pick-up the phone. Even for the time that they had to speak with different departments, before they could get to you. Or, the time they spent on the automated system, or wasting the minutes of their mobile phone. This could be very annoying for them. Usually, if there are huge call volume across all vendors or call centers, wait time is really excruciating for most callers. 
  • Service Interruption - If you work for Cable, Internet, Phone, WiFi  or any other Tel-co Companies. Businesses and even Individuals nowadays are dependent in the latest technologies in our era. Especially to those callers who work from home, or anyone who uses phone, internet or fax to do their job. Down Time is a nightmare for them, they could be losing from penny to thousands dollars for those times that their service is down. Even if it's just a network maintenance, outage, suspension or disconnection of their service; this is still unacceptable.  
  • Wrong Information - This problem is not new. Especially, if you work for a big company with tons of other departments. Especially, if the database is different from one department to another. To give the right information to your caller is easy, but, what if, other department's are not aware of the issue, or could not see what you are referring to due to system glitch. The only victim here is the caller. Just imagine, if they were promised that they'll get a new device, service installation or a tech dispatch, where they had to leave their work just to wait for it. And, all you got is nothing. If you are the caller, you might be yelling already even before the Agent picks up the line. 
  • Wrong Department - If your caller has been passed around; from one department to another. Expect that they are very upset. Who wants to speak with an automated system? It's not their fault if they got to your department incorrectly. If it's not the automated system's fault, it could be one of your colleague from other department. Believe me, no one wants to be given a run around. 
Empathize - After you hear all the complaints of your caller. It is so important to understand their situation. They won't be calling you for nothing, unless, it's a prank. But, seriously, if you put yourself into your customers' shoes, you will be able to connect yourself to what's really happening. You can even shock yourself how patient and caring you can be. Treat your callers the way you want to be treated. You don't have to be a superhero to become a human. 

Give Assurance - Once the caller is calm, give assurance that you'll do something about their concern. Remember this, your caller can't see how sincere you are, they can only hear your voice. Give them hope, make them feel that you are in control of the situation, and you won't leave them hanging. No matter how angry, upset or desperate your caller is, once, you give them assurance, they'll be at peace. 

Call Control - After all these, and your caller is still yelling at you. Try to calm down your customer by telling them that you'll need their cooperation so you could help them. Don't tell them to shut-up, just be extremely nice, despite of all the negativity. If you get yourself pissed, you let them win the battle. Don't get affected. Yes, you can let them talk, but, don't let them talk for hours. A couple minutes of listening from your caller would be ideal. But, learn when you can calmly and courteously cut off what they are saying. Don't let them eat you, tell you names or treat you like a slave. Remember this, you are the boss here! But, as what the real bosses are doing in real life, despite of the criticism, they can still smile without losing their patience. Take the call as if you own the business. Just don't let them affect you, since, they can't touch you, they are the ones who need your help. Gauge the situation, if your caller is just being upset, or they are just being rude. Still, hold-on to yourself. You can mute your phone, drink some water, soda or juice. Smile! Then, compose yourself; take the courage to take control of the call. Getting a call from an abusive caller is a different story. In some Call Centers' Protocols, you can drop the call after giving warnings, or transfer the caller to your supervisor. 

Do your Job - This is the part where you'll have to walk the talk. Address their issue in a timely manner, and stop wasting time. The faster you can help them, the better. While you are doing something to address their issue, take this time to establish rapport, don't just place your caller on-hold if it's not needed. It won't hurt if you'll ask them about their day, the weather, or anything under the sun. As long as it's not about race, politics, religion or any topic that may just further ruin their day. Be courteous, and use power words like "Great", "Awesome", crack simple jokes or anything that would probably encourage them to smile. Connect with your customer, by telling them things about yourself. The more they connect with you, the more they'll understand the nature of your job. This is also a good way to avoid dead-airs. Don't forget those times that you are practicing Mock Calls Scripts Sample with your friends, this is just like that! Remember this, the caller was already irate when you got the call; making them laugh is a huge accomplishment. If you can turn an irate caller into a very happy camper, then, give yourself a pat on the back!

These are just the things that you could put in your mind. Learning "How to deal with an irate caller", sometimes can really take time. But, as soon as you encounter more irate callers, you'll get used to it. Remember this, you are the front-liner of the company that you work for. You have to be tough, and you'll need to avoid being emotional. Don't involve yourself in the customers' frustration. Before I end this post, you might wanna read also the article that I wrote; How to Ace a Call Center Job Interview. If you like this post, please, LIKE our Facebook Fan Page, and FOLLOW US on Twitter! You can also subscribe below to get the latest updates from this blog! Have a great day!

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Maricel said...

Good job pointing all the steps, Jomi. Indeed, call center agents should know that customers are irate because they're not satisfied with the service they're getting. It's never personal. So yes, however toxic pacifying irate callers might be, it all comes with the package. It's all part of the job.

Arvin U. de la Peña said...

nice are you now..

SunnyToast said...

gone are the days handling irate caller..ayoko na...hahahaha! but this is good post! helpful :)

SunnyToast said...

This reminds me on my voice call accounts..nice post! iniformative!

Nonoy said...

Nice to be back here bro Jomi!

Naalala ko lang to. Panu kaya if yung agent eh irate rin? Di talaga madali ang magiging call center agent.

Henry said...

A helpful tips from high level agent! Napansin ko naging about call center issues na post mo lagi ah :D

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