Angry Call Center Customers

How to Handle Angry Customers in Your Contact Center

Frustration, discontentment and dissatisfaction are frequent drivers of angry call center customers. Coaching your contact center agents on how to navigate calls from angry customers will decrease call handle times, improve productivity and elevate the customer experience. Here are a few tips for helping your agents deal with these tense situations: 

Listen: The first thing most angry customer callers want to do is vent. Let them…without interruption. Diffuse the situation by listening patiently to the customer’s grievance before responding.  And when you do respond, confirm what you’re hearing such as “ok, so what I’m understanding is that there is an issue with ….”. This type of statement helps customer callers feel like their message has been received. 

Keep calm: The calmer your agent remains, the quicker your customer’s anger will likely subside.  And your agent’s conflict resolution skills will win the day. 

Empathetic language lets the angry customer caller know you are listening. To diffuse the caller’s anger, use phrases such as  

“I’m sorry you feel that way” 

“I understand your frustration” 

“I really appreciate your feedback” 

“Thank you so much for your patience/understanding, Sir/Madam…” 

Smile! Mother Teresa said, – “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” A study out of the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. found that smiling and other expressions pack a strong informational punch and may even impact us on a subliminal level. Contact centers can use desktop tickers, to provide real-time SMILE reminders and coach agents to smile regardless of the type of call that comes into their queue.  

Finally, maintain a positive attitude within your contact center. An agent’s positive attitude directly impacts how they handle and respond to angry customer calls. Increase an employee’s motivation to be positive by prioritizing fun, providing feedback and training, among other things. Check out this blog for 10 Ways to Increase Employee Motivation in Your Contact Center.