What is an Escalated Call & How to Handle It?

  • Last Updated: 20 Mar 24
  • 10 min read
how to handle escalated calls

Are you tired of dealing with escalated calls? Do you struggle to find the right words to calm down an angry customer?

This can break customer relationships and lose potential customers if you don’t handle escalated calls properly.

In this article, we will delve into what escalated calls are, the types of issues they encompass, and most importantly, how to handle them effectively, along with some tips especially for you to prevent future escalated calls so that you can convert angry customers to paying customers and increase customer satisfaction

What is an Escalated Call?

Escalate calls are a situation where a customer calls a business’ call center and requests service or support from a more experienced agent to resolve their issue or handle their demand.

what is escalated call

For example, A call center of a telecommunication company has been receiving a customer call multiple times complaining about frequent network issues for over a week, and the customer is not satisfied by the resolves administered by the frontline call center agent. Now, the only way to deal with it is to escalate the call to a specialized team or a supervisor to provide better assistance. This scenario, in simple terms, is known as call escalation.

Escalated calls can sometimes prove to be a nightmare to deal with for call center agents and typically involve customer complaints, technical issues, or billing disputes that could not be resolved by the initial support team. If not handled quickly and efficiently, a blunder of escalated calls can hamper the overall business operations.

Why Handling Escalated Calls is Important?

Some of the major reasons that make it crucial are:

  • To resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently,
  • To improve the overall customer experience,
  • To prevent customer churn rate and increase the number of loyal customers, and lastly
  • To create a positive company reputation.

The Escalation Process: How does it work?

If the escalation of calls is inevitable, there is a set of steps that a team follows in order to deal with it based on the complexity and sensitivity of the calls.

escalation process

Here’s the breakdown of the escalation process.

1. Identifying Escalated Calls

No matter the urgency, the first step is to understand and identify the nature of the escalated call, whether it be a customer complaint, billing issue, or an escalated call about a technical issue. The identification of calls can be done manually or based on the organization’s policies.

2. Escalation Procedures

Once the identification of the call is done, the next step is to mark it as escalated. Now, the support team will follow a simple procedure to deal with the escalated call. The complete outline of the situation differs according to organizational needs. However, the basics are the same, and they include

2.1. Customer notification: The first step is to inform the customer that their call has been escalated and to whom it has been escalated, along with an estimated timeframe for resolution. This will make the customer understand what’s going on and give a feel that their issue is taken seriously.

2.2. Documentation: Hand in hand with the notification process, detailed documentation of each step to be taken, customer’s information, and the related issue needs to be done. This ensures that the agents have complete information and that escalated call is dealt with swiftly. 

2.3. Escalation Tiers: To deal with escalated calls vigilantly, most associations have a tiered escalation process. This means the calls are first encountered by front-line customer service if they are unable to resolve the issue, then it’s escalated to be handled by a supervisor or department head, and so on.

What are the Types of Escalated Calls?

Escalated calls are often classified into 5 main categories depending on the type of request by the customer. Let’s talk about them

1. Customer Complaints: These are the most common issues that make up the majority of escalated calls. These arise when a customer is not satisfied at the primary level and include criticism about product quality, customer service, or personal experience concerning the business.

2. Technical Issues: Secondly, technical escalated calls appear when a customer requests assistance regarding some bug, hardware issue, or configuration within the product. These calls often require specialized knowledge or expertise to be resolved.

3. Billing Disputes: Then we have escalated calls regarding billing issues. These arise when a customer is dissatisfied with the service charges or incorrect billing. These calls are tough to deal with, and resolving them often involves careful examination of invoices and records.

4. Specialized calls: Following that, we have escalated calls that require specialized assistance. Calls like these occur when the initial support team does not have complete knowledge to resolve the customer’s issue and requires an expert to deal with the situation.

5. Calls requiring approval: Lastly, we have escalated calls that require management approval calls. These come into existence only when the frontline agents do not have the authority to make a specific decision that the customer is requesting.

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What are the Causes that lead to Escalated Calls?

There are several reasons behind call escalation, and some of the most common ones are:

  • Communication Breakdown: It might sound unreal, but the leading cause of escalated calls is miscommunication between the representative and the customer. This happens when the agent doesn’t understand the customer’s queries clearly.
  • Unresolved Problems: Another cause that leads to this situation is unresolved problems. This can happen when the agent is unable to resolve the customer’s issue or when the customer is not satisfied with the resolution that is offered.
  • Customer Frustration: Next, we have customer frustration. It occurs when the support agent is unprofessional or rude and unable to handle the customer’s request, long waiting time on resolutions, or when the customer feels like they are not being taken seriously.
what causes escalated calls
  • Untrained agents: Following that, another major cause that leads to escalated calls is the lack of agent confidence and training. A call is likely to be escalated to higher tiers if the first respondent does not have the required skills/training to settle customer queries.
  • Complex Issues: Lastly, a possible common cause that leads to escalated calls is complex issues and unreasonable customer expectations that are simply too complicated for a frontline respondent to deal with. These issues certainly need to be escalated to the higher-ups with more expertise.
  • System Issues: Sometimes, customer issues are caused by system outages or technical problems if the business is still using an old telephone system. To prevent this, businesses need to switch to a cloud-based phone system to minimize escalated calls and resolve the issues faster.

How to Handle Escalated Calls Efficiently?

There’s a long list of do’s and don’ts if you want to handle calls that are escalated efficiently. However, when it comes to actually doing it, there’s a template that you can follow to make the situation easier. You can take note of the following acts involved and de-escalate the call scenario.

  1. Stay calm and professional even if the customer is upset.
  2. Take your time, listen carefully to the customer, and understand their perspective.
  3. Empathize with the customer and show the customer that you understand their frustration.
  4. Acknowledge the customer’s problem and show them that you have been listening.
  5. Be sincere in your apology and demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue.
  6. Develop a solution and be willing to go the extra mile to resolve the issue.
  7. Get the customer’s agreement and meet their needs.
  8. Follow up with the customer and make sure that the issue has been resolved.
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Tips to Prevent Future Escalated Calls

You can help yourself by checking out these tips

  • Resolve issues at the first point of contact,
  • Provide your frontline agents with the necessary training and support,
  • Streamline your customer service to address customer concerns more easily,
  • Monitor and analyze call data to identify trends and patterns and develop strategies to deal with the escalation immediately
  • Empower your representatives to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the customer

By following the above-mentioned tips, you can minimize the occurrence of escalated calls in the near future and improve customer experience.

KrispCall: A Better Way to Handle Escalated Calls

Still looking for a solution that can handle everything by itself? We have the solution, and it’s KrispCall’s cloud-based phone system. To minimize the number of escalated calls, KrispCall’s virtual phone system offers you state-of-the-art features to handle them effectively.

krispcall a better way to handle escalated calls

A KirspCall cloud phone allows you to effectively handle call escalation by relaying calls to relevant agents around the world, with advanced features such as call forwarding, call hold music for a pleasant call experience, world-class redundancy in any given situation, customer data analytics to gain valuable insights, and finally, IVR (interactive voice response) specifically designed to help callers find the right agent and resolve their issues without having to escalate the issue.

Final Thoughts

Handling escalated calls is a crucial aspect of customer service, and it’s not just about resolving issues immediately. It’s about improving the business’s reputation, long-term customer loyalty, and enhancing the overall customer experience; accomplishing it is not easy.

However, by understanding the importance of call escalation, addressing its causes effectively, following the above-mentioned tips to eliminate it, or by getting a cloud phone system with IVR and other valuable features from KrispCall, you can proficiently deal with this issue and improve your brand’s image.


How do you handle an escalated call from an unhappy customer?

You can pursue the following techniques to handle an escalated call from an unhappy customer:

  • Stay calm and professional,
  • Listen actively to understand the customer’s frustration,
  • Acknowledge the customer’s feelings,
  • Offer a solution to resolve the issue,
  • Follow up with the customer to make sure they are satisfied.

When should a call be escalated?

Some specific situations when a call should be escalated are

  • In the case of a customer who requests to speak to an authority figure in order to resolve their issue
  • When an agent realizes that their response to a customer’s question or issue requires more expertise and resources, they transfer the request to another team that can meet the client’s needs
  • An issue that is deemed high-priority and requires immediate attention by the customer
  • When a customer is frustrated or angry and wants to talk to a senior agent
  • In situations where an agent cannot resolve an issue and must obtain approval from a supervisor

What is the company follow-up process if a call has been escalated?

Almost every company has a different follow-up process based on its size, industry, specific policies, and procedures. However, the general guidelines that most companies follow are

  • Defining internal Service Level Agreements(SLAs)
  • Acknowledging the escalation
  • Reviewing the call
  • Understanding the root cause
  • Following up with the customer
Arun Chaudhary

Arun is SEO Analyst at KrispCall. He has written in extensively in the field of cloud telephony and call center solutions.

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