Dealing with difficult/emotional calls can be particularly straining on agents, especially because they are on the front line talking to customers non-stop. It’s really important your staff feel comfortable when speaking to them if the customer talks about a sensitive subject, is in a frustrating situation or are perhaps vulnerable, and know how to deal with this in the correct way.
We’ve put together some top tips to help agents feel at ease when it comes to calls like this.
If the agent is handling a customer service call, they should listen to the entire issue without interrupting. This, in itself will help the customer feel better. Frustrated customers don’t like not being heard, so the agent needs to actively listen so they can try and resolve the issue quickly. Always ensure the issue is fully understood before it is attempted to be resolved.
If the agent is handling a sales call, they need to be prepared and again, actively listen so they can establish whether they should pitch a sale or not, depending on if they are talking to a vulnerable customer (look at blog ‘How to Work with Vulnerable Customers’ for more information on this).
It would also benefit the agent if you listen to their calls. You should be monitoring their calls regularly regardless; and it is especially important you also listen to difficult calls and investigate areas where the agent may need to improve and provide detailed feedback so they know how to do so.
Agents should always be able to express genuine sympathy for the customer, especially when faced with an emotionally difficult call. Although no two calls are the same, if an agent is speaking to angry/upset customers all day, this can take its toll and it’s easy for them to not completely focus.
It is important agents have enough time in between calls to recover before taking the next one. Even if the phone lines are really busy, your agents need to be completely refreshed and may need to take some time out before taking another call; especially if they have been handling a particularly difficult one. Make sure you allow them to take all the time they need and continue to support and respect them. We’re only human after all!
You should always show your staff you support them! This doesn’t always have to be demonstrated with incentives to encourage them to work harder – sometimes all they need to hear is that they’re doing a good job. Give them support by giving them one-to-one coaching if they are struggling, allow them a decent amount of break times and have a mutual respect for each other. It can take its toll when they are dealing with difficult calls throughout the day so your support is always appreciated by your agents.