7 Ways to Make Callers Feel Special and What to Do When They’re Angry
Handling phone calls takes special skills. The cues we get from body language and facial expressions are absent … making it especially important to really “tune in” to the words and tone. The anonymity of the phone also sometimes gives callers license to be more aggressive than they might ordinarily be.
Here are some tips for handling callers:
Seminar division, Mary Robbins speaking, how may I help you?
- Ask questions and take notes
I’m concerned about this incident, and your experience is important to us. I jotted down some notes as you were talking because I wanted to be sure I understood exactly what happened. May I read them back to you, Mr. Lewis?
- Relate to circumstances that concern them
I understand that your airports are closed because of snow. Has that affected your business, Dan?
- Share your thoughts and ideas
I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Thomas speak at the fall convention. His presentation is dynamic. I know you will get a lot out of it.
- Listen and react to tone and feelings
This does sound like an emergency. What is the quickest way we can get this into your hands?
- Use their names
That’s a good suggestion, Diane. I’ll be sure to bring this up with our director.
- Encourage callers to speak freely
Is there anything else you would like to tell me about this incident?
Added suggestions for when the caller is angry:
- Don’t interrupt them when they’re explaining the problem or concern. Listen to the entire story or explanation of the problem. (Not everyone organizes their thoughts before speaking, so you may not get the full story without listening through to the end.)
- Jot down your questions as they speak (so you remember and can ask them when the angry caller has finished)
- Count to two when the other person finishes speaking
- When you respond, allow openings in your conversation in case they want to speak
- Apologize even if the problem was caused by their mistake. Reassure them that you’re going to help them find a solution.
- Try to find a solution. Don’t promise something you can’t do. And if you need to transfer the caller to someone else, don’t make them restate the issue to the second caller. And do let the caller know that you’re transferring them.
- Don’t take the caller’s anger personally. You just happen to be the person who answered. Remember, the caller has no one else to vent their frustration to.