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10 tips to calm an irate caller

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It is a common thing that customers call their providers to complain of something. No one acknowledges the good things but always points out at what has gone wrong. This is an inseparable part of the business and we found it useful to offer several tips on how call centre agents can handle calls from angry customers.

  1. Be calm and control your tone

    Advice #1 would be to stay perfectly calm and in control of your voice throughout the entire conversation. It is important to accept that the customer has nothing personal against you, you just happen to be at the forefront to meet his frustration. You need to embody confidence and not let their rant disconcert you, as this could worsen the situation and further irritate the caller.

  2. Let them pour out their frustration

    Client’s anger is a destructive force you should not try to mollify. The best you can do is let the storm calm by listening to what the caller wants to say. Once they have spoken out their concern, they might feel a bit better, so you can proceed with resolving the matter in a more constructive way.

  3. Take notes and repeat information

    It is essential that you fully understand what the customers need and this becomes twice more important when they are frustrated. Failing to grasp a potentially critical detail that supplements their problem will lead to additional upset. What is worse, it will not contribute to your positive business’ image in the customer’s eyes. Make sure you take notes and repeat the important information they reveal to you so you know how to address it.

  4. Show empathy and understanding

    It helps to ease the caller a bit if you demonstrate clearly that you can relate to their problem. Say “I imagine how you must feel” or similar, to prove you have a sympathy for them. Customers want to be treated with care and it should pay off if you appear sincerely concerned for their situation.

  5. Guide the customer through the process of resolution and don’t put them on hold

    Further to the previous point, callers have to be handled softly and not in an abrupt manner, as putting them on hold could suggest to them. By making them stay on the line idly, you risk amplifying their discontent. For this reason it is advisable that you let them participate in the entire process of finding a solution to their problem. Tell them what you are doing currently – for example, you might be accessing information for their case from your database. Explain every step you take to deal with the issue and build rapport with them.

  6. Speak slowly and keep your phrases short and simple

    An angry customer is far from the mood to engage in a conversation stuffed with long and winding explanations. Your speech has to be clear in order to avoid the possibility of being misunderstood. Remember, you seek efficiency and not flamboyance in your talk.

  7. Make them feel in control by giving them options

    Customers expect solutions from you. They call not just to complain but also to get rid of the trouble bothering them. Your task is to give them a range of options to resolve the problem. They have to know that they are free to make a choice between multiple variants and you should convince them that there is nothing fatal in their case.

  8. Use positive words

    You want to demonstrate that you are managing the issue brought to you in a professional manner and you are not afraid to take actions. “Yes”, “definitely”, “absolutely”, “exactly”, “ask”, “resolve”, “understand” are all positive and action-inducing words to reassure the client that it is being worked on his matter and the agent is responding positively to it.

  9. Take their matter as a feedback to improve your services

    It might be satisfying for the customer if he sees that his trouble is taken seriously and can trigger a general service improvement. Assure him that his call will be taken to the managerial team and they will make sure that his issue will not occur to other customers.

  10. Always be kind and polite

    We probably should have started with this one but it is good to recap with one of the key requirements for an effectual handling with irate callers. You must be kind to the customers at all times and never reproach them in any way, regardless of how big their frustration might be. Be good and you can even appease them.