Successfully navigating a difficult telephone call can be tricky. Patience and an appropriate tone of voice are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making your callers happy. As a premium answering service, Dexcomm has developed strategies to ensure that even the most difficult callers conclude the conversation feeling confident that their problems have been resolved. In this blog, we’ll identify five common “frustrating” callers, as well as providing a guide
for how to appropriately meet the needs of these callers, because even difficult callers deserve respect and assistance. We asked one of our top customer service reps, Charles Burton, for his advice on how to deal with difficult calls.
- The Chatty Cathy
We’ve all been there. Someone is talking a mile a minute on the phone, and you are trying your best to capture every word. It’s enough to make your head spin. However, following our advice can almost guarantee you don’t miss a word. When the caller wants to provide you with all their information at the beginning of the call, definitely take notes. Often, the caller will give their name in the first few sentences. If not, your first question is to ask them their name. That way, when the caller pauses, you can call them by their name to get them to acknowledge you speaking, and you can start collecting information. Calling someone by their name is always the best way to get their full attention. You may have to try this several times with an excessively chatty caller. Be patient with them, though, because they want to be heard. After you start recording their information, confirm with the caller what you’ve heard to ensure they know you understand their issue.
A caller might not realize you are with the answering service and want to give you all their information at one time. Stick to your script and place the information provided in the right place in your notes. Remember to confirm the information and ensure all the questions are completed for the customer’s scripts. The most important thing to remember with a chatty caller is to get as much info as you can at the start and to call them by their name to get their attention.
- Furious Fred
If you work in customer service, it is inevitable that you will encounter people who are less than happy. Whether you’re greeting guests or answering calls, there’s bound to be that one person a day with a serious bone to pick. Luckily, there are proven ways to handle these callers. Angry callers are angry because they feel “slighted” by a non-response from the company. Or, a bad interaction with a caller could mean they may be having a difficult day in general. Our suggestion is to listen carefully, confirm what you heard, tell the caller what you can do for them, and always follow through with what you said you would do.
Even though the caller might be irate, keep your voice calm and even, refer to them by name and be very polite. Do not reflect the caller’s attitude. Let them know you are there to assist and capture their grievance with the company. Also, avoid agreeing with the caller’s issues as you may not be aware of any previous conversations the company has had with the caller. Do not be offended by the caller’s comments as they may not be directed at you. If they are directed at you, then remain polite and collect the information needed from the caller so a representative of the company can assist them.
- “No Hablo Ingles”
Since foreign language speakers are the minority in the U.S., most foreign language callers know from the start that they will be speaking with a person that does not understand their first language. However, a lot of foreign language callers know enough English to communicate their needs. Be receptive to taking these calls and listen for familiar and common words. If you are familiar with your accounts, then you can ask the caller detailed questions to obtain the reason for the call. If they are calling a physician, then ask if they are calling for an appointment, emergency, etc. These key words often trigger familiarity in the caller. This technique can be customized to any industry – whether it’s medical, funeral, or HVAC. Know ahead of time that you will most likely have to ask the caller multiple times to repeat themselves. Luckily, most people are fine with repeating their information. If you can get a name and a phone number, you have a message. Deliver your message to the office because they are most likely familiar with dealing with the caller or type of caller.
- Quiet Caller
“Hello? Hello? Do you have a bad connection? Can you hear me?” Does this sound familiar? When a caller is hard to hear, there may be several reasons behind it. Quiet callers may be speaking softly or may have a bad connection. Be very patient and pause after asking question and listen for the answer. Sometimes you hear the answer to your questions and will have to verify what you heard. As an operator, you may have to ask the caller multiple times for the same information. If they are getting irritated at your questions then reassure the caller you are there for them and you will assist them in any way possible to correctly deliver their message. Reflect their quietness and not any frustration they may be showing.
- Mr. Hard-of-Hearing
At Dexcomm, our motto is “treat every caller with the same respect you’d treat your grandmother.” This comes in handy when it’s an actual grandma calling in. If you’re lucky, elderly callers who may be hard of hearing will generally tell you that they are hard of hearing. Speak to them respectfully, slowly, and as loudly as your environment will tolerate. Like anyone else, they have a message to communicate and expect you to deliver the message. Sometimes, the caller will get frustrated with you. As stated with quiet callers, assure the caller you are there by continuing the conversation. The caller may not hear everything you are saying, but they will know you are still on the line and they will continue to provide you with information. Be patient, calm, and speak as loudly as you can with these callers and you will eventually understand their message.
See? It’s that easy. Even unhappy calls can turn into happy calls if you handle them appropriately. Here at Dexcomm, we try to treat every caller with sensitivity and compassion. This means establishing a protocol for how to best meet the needs of all callers. Whether the person calling in is elderly, angry, or has a bad connection – meeting these challenges head-on and with purpose will ensure that you and the caller make the most of the experience. You can learn more about Dexcomm and how we speak to our callers by visiting some of our Services pages.