2 Tricky Phone Call Situations … and How to Handle Them

Words have power, especially when you’re handling customers or clients by phone. Whether you’re talking to someone who’s angry, confused or thrilled, what you say can help create a happy, long-lasting relationship.

Following are two examples of phone situations that can be tricky.

  1. The Too-friendly Caller

phone calls with customersThe rules for interruptions:

You can’t get a word in edgewise.

  • “That’s a good point, Mrs. Dawson. Now about your policy ….”

The conversation has turned to unrelated subjects.

  • “I’d love to talk more about it, Dan, but I’m taking up too much of your time.”
  • “Now getting back to your question ….”

You feel uncomfortable about the caller’s words or language.

  • “Getting back to business, Janet ….”
  • “That’s nice of you to ask, Mr. Leonard. By the way, did you know we have a special discount rate for ….”
  • “Thanks for the compliment, now about your deadline ….”

2. Delivering Bad News

interrupting a callerGet to the point—honestly and directly. Let the person know you’re aware of the impact on them, suggests entrepreneur.com. When the message is negative, think positive!

Instead of:                                        Say:

  • “We can’t do that.”             “That has been such a popular model, we’ve sold out. You might like ____ instead.”
  • “I’ll have to … ”                      “I’m going to find out … and get you an answer by 4 p.m. tomorrow.”
  • “I’ll try to ….”                         “You have a great point. I’ll find out and get back to you.”
  • “You’ll have to ….”                 “I’m happy to help with ….”
  • “It’s company policy.”          “I wish I could help. Since you’ve owned the product for more than 6 months, it’s not covered any more. Here are the names of two organizations that help with this type of maintenance.”

 

Avoid conditional words such as … should, might, could, must, may….

Avoid negative words such as … no, never, can’t, problem, awful, bad, difficult, always, impossible, terrible

Use positive, upbeat words such as … can, will, absolutely, ideal, prompt, favorite, expert, solution, definitely, gladly

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