How to Handle Angry Customer Calls in a Call Center?
- Last Updated: 01 Dec 23
- 18 min read
Are you a call center agent and looking for ways to handle angry customers in your call center?
Call center agents face the daily challenge of addressing a bunch of customers, navigating both happy and frustrated clients. 😤
Dealing with happy clients is easy, but responding to irate customers is tough. If not handled well, it not only could lose your clients but also put your job at risk.
But, don’t worry, this blog is intended to teach you how to handle angry customer in call center properly and keep your clients happy.
What is the importance of wisely handling angry customer calls?
According to a recent study,
96% of consumers around the globe say they tend to choose loyalty to a brand based on the quality of the customer service they receive.
The same study reveals that one in three customers
(30%) believes the most critical aspect of customer service is speaking with a professional and friendly agent.
That means customers are likely to stay if they are treated well by a qualified and friendly representative.
In addition to loyalty, angry customers can be a risk for your company in terms of reputation. If an angry caller is not satisfied, their first step will be to leave a bad review or complain vociferously about social media.
So, knowing how to handle this type of situation properly is crucial as it prevents from losing customers, leads to great customer satisfaction followed by more productivity and overall better results.
But before knowing how to handle angry customer service calls you must understand.
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What are the personality types of angry customers?
Angry customers can show different characteristics and behaviors. Generally, there are four different personality types of angry customers.
Customer service representatives have to deal with unhappy customers each type in a different manner in order to help the customers. They have to use different phrases to tackle even the most difficult customers.
Let’s have a look.
An abusive customer tends to speak with a high-pitched voice and inappropriate words. Even though the call center agent gets personal insults from the customers, it is their industry standard to handle such customers.
According to the rule, the agents have to warn the customer three times before hanging up the call.
You need to keep your cool and keep your emotional state in check while dealing with abusive customers and their verbal abuse.
How to handle angry and abusive customers? (Examples)
- I really understand your problem, Sir/Madam, however, the kind of language you are using is intolerable.
- I’m trying my very best to assist you with your problems, Sir/Madam…
- You really seem to be very upset, Sir/Madam. For your convenience, would you like to continue our conversation via email or post?
- I’m so sorry that you’re feeling upset, Sir/Madam. Would you like for us to call you back when you are feeling better?
- I truly apologize, Sir/Madam, But if you continue to speak such inappropriate language, I will, unfortunately, will have to end our call.
An offloader customer is someone who recently has faced some personal tension and tends to express anger towards the agent.
They usually amplify even the most minor complaints to release their mental pressure.
How to handle offloader customers? (Examples)
- I’m extremely sorry that you are feeling this way, Sir/Madam, …
- Alternatively, we can help you with …
- May I suggest …?
- What I can do right now for you is …
- We truly appreciate your feedback, Sir/Madam, …
3. Legitimate Grievance
Legitimate grievance customers are those the company has failed to deliver its service. Sometimes the company misses their agreements that really impact the customers.
Agents taking calls from such customers tend to transfer the call to their team leader without delay. This type of incident could be a problem for businesses if the words go out on social media.
How to handle legitimate grievance customers? (Examples)
- Thank you very much, Sir/Madam, for telling us about such a mistake from our end, …
- I’m truly sorry that you have to deal with this unfortunate event, Sir/Madam …
- I totally understand how you are feeling right now, Sir/Madam…
- I will do my best to solve this issue for you…
The threat-making customer is someone who gives threats to the agent using physical intimation or emotional intoxication.
Agents need to stay calm and not overreact to such threats. Even with the threats, agents have to fully commit to giving solutions to such customers.
What to say to the threat-making customers?
- I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience you have to face, Sir/Madam…
- Will you excuse me for a moment, Sir/Madam, I am going to look for a solution to your problem.
- I highly recommend that [your recommendation], Sir/Madam, so that we can take further action as quickly as possible.
- I am more than delighted to assist you, Sir/Madam…
How to Handle Angry customer in call Center & BPO?
It is imperative that you master the art of handling angry and disgruntled customers in order to avoid negativity.
Here are 12 tips that can help you to deal with angry caller on the phone in a call center or BPO with ease;
1. Never take things personally
The first thing to do is remember that the angry customers are expressing their concerns about the company you represent and not you personally.
Call center agents can often feel they are personally attacked when defining what causes a client’s dissatisfaction.
In many cases, they are mad because of the situation they find themselves in.
You, as an initial point of contact with irate customers, should always aim for customer satisfaction regardless of the situation.
When you understand that you should not take the customer’s anger personally, it makes it easy to focus on and address their underlying concerns.
2. Use the right tone of voice
If you are dealing with an angry caller, the tone of your voice can make all the difference.
Make sure your tone is appropriate and that the situation is under control.
You need to take a deep breath and be sympathetic to their point of view to be able to understand them. Also, take the time to apologize whenever necessary.
This will help to show that you take the situation seriously.
3. Adjust your mindset
When things seem to be falling apart one after another during an already difficult day, it is hard to listen to another unhappy caller. That’s why you must keep things in perspective.
Put yourself in their shoes. Stay calm and think about how you would react if you had to go through a similar situation. It makes a big difference to show a little empathy to the caller.
By doing so, you will be able to focus 100% of your attention on the customer to provide a quick solution with great service.
Not only will this make the customer happy and reduce some of their stress, but it will also improve customer service because customers will feel that you are more concerned about them and their problems.
4. Choose the right words/phrases
When it comes to calming irate customers, your agents’ skillful use of professional language could be very important. Use phrases like “I’m so sorry that you feel this way”, “As a solution…”, “We really do appreciate this feedback”, etc.
Don’t take your time to apologize and hold your cool under pressure. Customers with legitimate complaints have a justifiable basis for being annoyed with your company.
You must acknowledge the wrongs and take them seriously. For this reason, the language used should be sympathetic and apologetic.
5. Listen and let the customer talk
In order to handle angry callers, be empathic towards them and actively listen to what they are saying.
The caller may speak in a loud voice because of frustration. In response, provide the caller a chance to express their frustration.
The right agent listens, takes notes, and does not get angry while solving the issue. Listen to the entire story without interrupting before answering.
It’s a good idea to take notes and let the person speak whenever possible because it can be difficult to catch what they are saying. In a nutshell, use your ears more than your mouth.
6. Don’t put them on hold
Customer service agents usually place angry caller on hold, believing they can calm them down while on hold.
Contrary to common belief, this is not the case. A long hold time will instead escalate the situation, creating more frustration for the caller.
Most customers believe they are put on hold so that the representative does not have to handle their issue.
Even if it isn’t true, a caller’s imagination during wait time has enough time to think of negative reasons for being on hold.
Instead of putting them on hold, use this time to explain to them how you intend to handle the situation.
7. Use scripts
You probably have call scripts to provide positive and highly personalized interactions during routine customer service calls.
Almost every call center representative follows the scripts while dealing with the customers, but none of them uses a script to handle an angry call.
In fact, a pre-written script might just be easier and more helpful to reconcile situations while dealing with difficult customers.
Being able to respond appropriately to angry callers as part of customer service. Thus, following a script gives you a greater chance of delivering the right message to dissatisfied customer.
8. Sympathize and Apologize
Apologizing 🙏 makes a big difference. Therefore, it’s very important that you apologize to customers when something unexpected happens.
When you handle upset customers, it is important to reassure them that you understand their concerns and are deeply sorry that the issue occurred.
As a result, they will feel validated and calm down. Demonstrating the validity of their concerns will help you resolve the situation faster, and you’ll also help them understand that you’re not the cause of the problem.
Remember that even if it is not your fault, it is imperative that you apologize because you are representing the company, and you are apologizing on their behalf.
9. Offer a solution 🎁
A call center team should always stay focused on helping customers with their problems. By redirecting the conversation back to critical issues, agents must provide constructive solutions to their problems.
It is often sufficient to gain the acceptance and appreciation of angry clients when you demonstrate that you are open to finding the best solution while dealing with difficult cases instead of giving up after discovering their issue.
10. Return to the main points
When call center agents return to the points that matter, it may be easier to deescalate angry conversations and help callers discover solutions to their problems.
It is extremely important to let the angry caller know that you are on their side when they have finished their talk.
To do this, apologize for the issue, show empathy, and summarize their main points. As a result, they will feel that you are listening to them, allowing them to calm down a little.
11. Follow up Call
Make sure to take down the customer’s information as soon as you’ve offered the solution and taken the necessary actions to fix the problem.
After that, follow up within two days to ensure the solution you offered the customer was indeed satisfactory.
Although this may not calm the customers at the moment, it will motivate them to return since they know that you’ll get the job done quickly and correctly and will check back to make sure it has been done.
12. Implement a good technology
Apart from the above-mentioned tips, using technology can help agents better handle customer calls. Nowadays, technology offers a solution to every problem. This includes dealing with angry and displeased customers.
For example, call center software tools with live monitoring and call recording features are beneficial for call center managers to guide agents on how to effectively handle difficult customers with the right tone of voice.
The tool can also be used to proactively provide solutions and resolve their problem. You can use a skill-based routing feature for better productivity and fast solutions.
Thanks to this feature, your customers will be intelligently routed to the agent who can answer their inquiries.
13. Keep the Caller Cheerful
It is a challenging task to handle an angry caller, so we need to talk with the customer in a simple and polite manner which can make them happy by solving their issues and queries. There are various tips you can follow to make a irate caller happy:
- Providing Vouchers: Unhappy customers can be made happy by providing vouchers to show appreciation toward the business.
- Inspire them to smile: While ending a conversation with a joke or compliments, it can make a caller smile with less stress.
- Take the extra step: When closing a discussion, you can ask if you need help with anything. You can go an extra step to make them appreciated.
How do respond to angry customer calls in different customer service scenarios?
As an agent, you will come across different kinds of scenarios where you need to respond accordingly while talking with an angry customer.
You need to speak the right phrases in order to handle angry caller in call center. Here are some of the scenarios.
Scenario 1: You have no answer to their query.
Sometimes you will not know the answer to the question customer is asking. This shouldn’t let you down as an agent. However, you should not respond to the customer with something like “I don’t know”.
“Great question, let me find that out for you right now!”
Scenario 2: Unavailable item
There are times when the item customer is asking for is not available at the moment. Telling the angry customer the product is not available could end up wrong so the agents should use positive language to answer such questions.
“The [product/service] will actually be available [when]. I can assist you by placing the order for you right now and make sure to [deliver the product/provide the service] to you as soon as possible.”
Scenario 3: Transfer customer’s call
As an agent, your job is to give the best solution to the customer. For that reason, you might need to transfer the call to another department to better help the customer.
“My sincere apologies, but I will have to transfer your call to [department name] to help you with your problem.”
Scenario 4: Defects with the product received by the customer
Not all customers will end up getting the product in good condition. Sometimes customers may receive defective products which could dishearten them. Especially if this happens with an angry customer, the conversation will not go as planned for the agent.
“We are extremely sorry about that. It’s really disappointing even for us to deliver such a faulty product. The product may have been damaged during the manufacturing process or shipping process.
Can I replace the defective product with a non-defective one for you right away?”
Why is it essential to handle angry customer calls in a call center?
It is essential to handle angry customer in call center, it is an unavoidable part of dealing with the irate customer in a call center. There are various reasons for dealing with irate customer:
1. Retaining Clients
We can retain the angry and upset customers of a call center by solving their issues and queries, showing a true commitment as a customer service representative. It is important to retain clients as more than 90% of customers purchase from the companies that provide good services.
2. Recognizing Business Concerns
The call center may have a stockpile of complaints from the angry customers. Identifying and analyzing the customer complaints can help to highlight the problem, where we can find the things that need to be improved in the call center software.
3. Preventing Future Issues
The things learnt from handling the irate customer are valuable assets for the call center member and managers. The customer complaints help the manager to create strategy and protocol for avoiding future issues.
What are the benefits of handling angry customers effectively?
There are various benefits a business can obtain from handling the angry customers in following ways:
1. Helps to facilitate Job Training
It is difficult to handle irate customers in a call center but it might teach us a lot for fixing problems. It provides teaching opportunities for new customer service representatives for solving the problem on their own. Difficult conversation leads to better insights for improving the call center training.
2. Helps to improve your business
First of all, determining why clients are irate can help to indicate the part that requires improvement in call centers like call agents training, need to fix the software issue faster, and many more. Pinpointing the area of improvement can save time and money in the business.
3. Interaction with customers helps to reveal valuable insights
All types of businesses invest many resources on customer surveys, aiming to reveal their needs, values and desires. The unhappy customers who are difficult to work with often share the information in the wrong way. Finding those details and reports helps to identify best trends in the industry and can also improve in the field of customer satisfaction.
Interacting with angry callers is part of the job for any customer service representative.
The ability to deal with these difficult interactions effectively can have a huge impact on your company’s reputation and the customer’s experience with you.
Through the use of these techniques, you can not only offer good customer service but also reduce handling times.
How do angry clients affect your business?
Customers play a vital role in all types of business for increasing their brand reputation, sales and many others but an angry client hampers a business who is trying to emerge in the market. There are different ways that an angry clients may affect your business, they are:
- Damage of Business Reputation
- Reduce Customer Morale
- Increase in Customer Loss
- Decrease in Profits
What do you mean by Anger Call Policy? List out the important factors required in angry call policy?
Anger Call Policy is a way of setting rules and guidelines that organizations introduced for their staff to pursue while managing angry customers. Every business-like call center must have an anger call policy for protecting their employees and customers and ensure resolving the customer issues in a time period.
The important factors required in anger call policy are:
- The Three strike rule
- Repeated offenders
- Assist By Senior Supervisor
- Follow Up Calls
- Training Employees