If there were ever a wishlist for call center coaching, ‘no angry customers’ would top this list.
Angry customers are taboo in contact centers. Everybody knows they’ll encounter one someday, but they wish that day never comes.
Anger is a tricky emotion to handle for call center agents.
It is increasingly difficult for agents to stay calm in front of customers throwing a barrage of anger-filled volleys. In case they also let loose, there is a risk of customers permanently walking away from your services.
Thus you see that angry customers directly translate to loss of business for you. Disappointment can’t be entirely done away with and there would be buyers that are just not satisfied.
But as a manager, if you make some upgrades to your call center training program, you can turn raging customers into your choicest supporters.
In today’s blog, we discuss all this and also cover-
- Anger is the Enemy
- What All Can Be Included in Your Customer Interaction Policy?
- Call Center Coaching is the Ladder to Customer Satisfaction
Anger is the Enemy
Before we proceed any further, we’d like to point out the one mistake most contact centers appear to be making these days.
Pacifying angry customers is often considered to be the sole responsibility of call center agents. This is WRONG!
On several occasions, customers take the dignity of agents for granted and overstep the line with abuses and threats.
Of course agents are expected to assist frustrated customers but there is also no reason they should not cut off the call when buyers stoop down to bad behavior.
Yes, call center coaching programs can make a difference, but the real goal is to assure agents that the management backs them and that customers are accountable for not extending respect to agents.
A seamless way to do this is to establish a policy that outlines steps for handling an irate customer. The policy should also mention the guidelines on identifying aggressive customers and give agents the right to not engage with them.
Remember, your scale-up strategies will only bear fruit if you take your agents along and take concrete steps to show that you value their well-being.
What Can All Be Included in Your Customer Interaction Policy?
The first approach to assisting an angry customer is to understand that not all customers will have the same level of anger.
Agents can identify the severity of customer complaints and on this basis, deploy suitable solutions. You can refer to the below-mentioned guide for call center coaching and further use it to develop your policy for dealing with disappointed customers.
- Give ample warnings
The minute agents identify that a customer is getting hostile, they can discreetly remind them to maintain composure. Agents should cut the call if the customer continues with the said behavior. However, in any scenario, the agent should not lose their cool.
- Take managers in the loop
In call center coaching sessions, enlighten your agents about letting managers take over the call with an angry customer.
However, this measure should be utilized frugally, and agents should look to resolve most queries on their own.
- Make it a tradition to follow up
In case agents are not able to properly assist a disgruntled customer at a particular instant, make a point to follow up with the customer some days later.
By that time, the customer might have also calmed down and thus would be easier to deal with.
- Enable customers to reach out through multiple channels
You can encourage customers to reach out through different channels such as email, forms, messages etc. Customers might not be able to list down their exact demands when angry.
In such a scenario, channels other than calls might help them to better articulate their problems.
Call Center Coaching is the Ladder to Customer Satisfaction
The biggest conundrum while dealing with an angry customer is that you want to protect your agents while also ensuring a good customer experience.
If the issue is not resolved, the anger will get further fortified and will find release in the form of negative reviews across social media channels.
And what happens when your loyal customers read such reviews? Doubts crop in their mind and they might find your competitors suddenly enticing.
We are not making this up. As per a report, organizations suffer losses crossing $1.5 trillion just because they couldn’t provide customers with a good experience.
Whenever anyone talks about dealing with customers and targeting unique experiences, the spotlight automatically falls on call center coaching.
You may have a call center training guide and template in place but is it delivering the necessary results? If not, you can utilize the following suggestions-
- Ask Agents to Turn on the Zen Mode
One of the foremost things to target in call center coaching sessions is the way agents interact with agents.
Agents should be taught that the outburst is not aimed at them but rather at the faulty product or item they received.
This insight would help agents obtain a ‘bird’s POV’ about the whole situation and enable them to assist the customer effectively.
- Identify Types of Angry Customers
Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your source of learning”.
Contact center management can take inspiration from this saying and view angry customers as a great source of feedback for your business offerings.
Unsatisfied customers can be broadly categorized into a number of categories. Then a template can be drawn in call center coaching sessions for dealing with each of these.
For example, Complainer can be a category of customers who are overtly vocal about their grievances and have made the call with a negative mindset. They can deal with extreme calm and optimism, with the agent providing them the requisite space to vent.
- Master the Balancing Act
Call center coaching should help agents realize the difference between a calm and patronizing tone. A delicate balance has to be achieved where you can inform the customer without sounding cheeky.
A calm tone can work wonders, a patronizing one not so much. Through mock calls or role play in call center coaching, agents can see the sound effects of a neutral and soft tone.
Most angry customers want to hear that their problem is being taken seriously, and they are not just another statistic for your call centers.
Since your agents represent your business, it is their responsibility to defuse a customer's anger and assist them professionally.
- Honesty is indeed the Best Policy
Even top-performing agents might get unnerved on encountering an angry customer.
In a poor judgment of the situation, they might promise something unfeasible to the customer just to abate their dissatisfaction.
This works in the short term but when the customer realizes your farce, their outburst will worsen.
So make your agents realize the importance of honesty in call center coaching meetings.
Telling the customer the reality of the situation would not only help you stay away from sticky situations, but it would also further enhance the customer’s trust.
- Make Technology Work for You
These days, call center software empowers agents to extend a unique customer experience every time.
Novel technical tools such as AI-powered conversational intelligence platforms can solve frequently asked customer queries, thus admonishing customer dissatisfaction at its initial stages.
This way agents are left with more time to focus on suggesting quick and effective solutions for customer problems. Thus make your agents familiar with such technologies in call center coaching.
Angry customers are the ‘You-know-who’ of the call center industry. Nobody wants to meet them but they exist everywhere, at all times.
A good strategy would be to conduct regular call center coaching for your agents and equip them with the necessary skills.
But also know that sometimes you may not be able to satisfy an angry customer and might have to suffer loss of business. In such a scenario, accept the shortcomings, analyze what went wrong and look forward to the next customer.
Speaking about analysis, Convin can be a brilliant platform for monitoring your agents’ performance on inbound and outbound calls.
It uses natural language processing (NLP) to identify the agent's tone, way of speaking etc. Depending on this analysis, you can easily put up an agent for coaching.
So if you are convinced that Convin is THE solution for you, Get started. If not, take another trip.
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