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Lesson 3 – Helping Angry Callers
It happens to every CSR, probably more often than they would like.
You answer the phone, and a person is incredibly upset and can’t wait to tell you how upset they are.
When this happens, it is ESSENTIAL to remain positive and confident.
You may want to run and hide, or defend yourself from what feels like an attack, but your job is to hang in there, and help the caller.
Often, very angry callers have recently spent significant money buying a new system. When they have service issues, leaks, and problems, they are immediately upset. After all, the system they just replaced worked for decades before it broke.
There is specific wording that can really help to establish a working rapport: “Sir, you did the right thing calling to let us know your experience hasn’t been perfect. I will make it my priority to resolve this situation as soon as humanly possible.”
This sets you up to listen, and to follow the Pattern For Excellence to pacify and begin to resolve the customer’s concern.
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Here is an Example
An example of a very angry inbound service call might start off like this:
CSR: “Thanks for calling Awesome A/C, this is Brigham. How can I make you smile today?”
Homeowner: “I’M NOT SMILING. I’M VERY UPSET WITH YOU PEOPLE! I JUST BOUGHT A NEW AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM FROM YOU LAST MONTH, AND NOW IT’S NOT WORKING!!!”
This is often the point where call handlers will begin to backpedal or apologize. Doing that is a mistake. The way forward is to reassure the caller that they have done the right thing by calling, and to let the caller know that they are not alone.
CSR: “You’ve done the right thing calling to let us know your system isn’t perfect. I will make sure that you get the first available technician as soon as possible to get your system up and cooling again. You are absolutely my number one priority.”
By being confident, you instill confidence in the client. Even if there have been multiple issues in making them happy, your confidence will give them hope that they finally have found the person that can help them.
Tips For Calming the Angry Client
In addition to being confident, here are a few additional tips for resolving the concerns of the angry client:·
- Be Empathetic, not sympathetic – Remember, we don’t want to come across like a Scripted Robot. Being phony can whip a mildly upset client into a Tasmanian Devil. So when someone says they are upset don’t apologize, or say “I understand how you feel.” This can come off insincere can create further issues to say “I understand your anger” if you do not truly understand, as the customer may shoot back “You have no idea!”. Using a phrase like “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been” is a better way to phrase this.
- Let them vent – When someone is angry, (Even if they are mistaken) you will NEVER WIN by interrupting and trying to interject your thoughts. It is best to sit back and listen. Encourage them to keep sharing. Remember, this is not a personal attack. Let them get it all out.
- Let them know that you are listening – You build credibility and show that you care by giving proof that you are listening. Take notes and read them back to the client to let them know that every detail of their concern is important, and that you don’t want to miss anything. By doing this, you also avoid the mistake of assuming why might be upset, and may uncover a misunderstanding that can be easily corrected.
- Take ownership and get resolution – Now that you have built trust and confidence, move to solve their issue. After confirming that you have a clear understanding of the issue, take ownership in getting it fixed. Let the client know that you are going to be the quarterback and see this issue through until it is resolved.
- Close the loop – Lastly you want to isolate the concern and confirm that once this issue has been corrected that they will now be satisfied. If you have used the principles in the Pattern For Excellence (Positive, Confident, Listen, Care) up to this point you should have uncovered all of their concerns and finalizing the solution should be the last step to regaining their satisfaction.
So remember, the client is just a frustrated person who wants to be helped. You are in the awesome position to make a difference. The next time an angry client calls, welcome their concerns and tackle them with confidence and positivity!
See you next week!