Valued Contributor



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We all know the CSR is the gas that runs the engine in organizations but what happens when they get stalled and don’t know how to handle that difficult customer? There are times like this that I have seen a CSR just put the phone down and just walk out. We never want our CSR staff to get to that point, so we need to give them the tools and the training to handle that type of call. The training may be simple, but it is one of the most important things you can do and repeat so that your team acquires the skills they need to handle that difficult call.

Handling difficult customers on the phone can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can effectively manage the situation. Here are some tips for handling difficult customers as a customer service representative:

  1. Stay Calm: It's important to remain calm and composed, even if the customer becomes agitated or rude. Take a deep breath and focus on maintaining a professional demeanor throughout the conversation.
  2. Listen actively: Allow the customer to express their concerns fully without interruption. Show empathy by actively listening to their frustrations and acknowledging their feelings. This helps to de-escalate the situation and shows the customer that you genuinely care about resolving their issue.
  3. Show Empathy: Put yourself in the customer's shoes and understand their perspective. Express empathy by using phrases like, "I understand how frustrating this situation must be for you" or "I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you."
  4. Stay Positive and Polite: Use positive language and maintain a polite tone throughout the conversation. Avoid getting defensive or using negative language, as this can escalate the situation further.
  5. Apologize and Take Responsibility: Even if the issue isn't directly your fault, apologize for the inconvenience caused and take responsibility for finding a solution. Assure the customer that you are committed to resolving their problem.
  6. Offer Solutions: Work with the customer to find a resolution. Propose solutions or alternatives that address their concerns. If necessary, consult with a supervisor or other team members to identify the best course of action.
  7. Avoid Arguing: Never engage in an argument with the customer, as it will only worsen the situation. Instead, focus on problem-solving and finding common ground.
  8. Be Patient: Some customers may require more time or assistance to resolve their issues. Patience is crucial, even if the customer becomes demanding or repetitive. Continue to provide support until the problem is resolved or escalate it to the appropriate department if needed.
  9. Escalate When Necessary: If you're unable to reach a satisfactory resolution or the customer becomes abusive, it may be appropriate to escalate the call to a supervisor or manager. Briefly explain the situation and ask for assistance in handling the customer's concerns.
  10. Follow Up: After resolving the customer's issue, follow up to ensure their satisfaction. This demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent customer service and can help rebuild any damaged rapport.

In a recent study handling a difficult customer in a negative way can cost you up to $2,000 in lost revenue because of bad social media reviews. Turn that negative into a positive and keep that top line revenue growing. Remember, each difficult customer interaction is an opportunity to learn and improve your customer service skills. By remaining professional, empathetic, and solution-oriented, you can effectively handle difficult customers on the phone.


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