Being a call centre agent can be a demanding job. Inevitably, they will have to deal with angry customers at some point, and knowing how to manage those strong feelings is crucial. Get it right, and you can turn dissatisfaction into long-term loyalty. Get it wrong, and you can lose customers very quickly, not to mention the emotional cost to your staff.

As with many aspects of call centres, training and preparation of your staff are key, and here are our top tips for dealing with anger.

1. Acknowledge the customer’s anger

There is no point burying your head in the sand and dealing with angry customers as though they weren’t angry. They need to vent before they are ready to listen to you, and letting them do so is crucial to getting them to a place where they can be reasoned with and you can suggest a solution. As tempting as it is to interject, it will only incense customers further. So be patient and listen respectfully.

2. Understand Customer Expectations

It is easy to forget that customers are more than just a number, but also people with feelings. When a customer is angry, what he/she really wants to feel is that the call agent they are talking to can relate to them as a human being and understands their frustration with whatever problem prompted them to call.

It doesn’t take much to express sympathy and compassion, but it will go a long way. Your staff should be trained to see this as a vital process in dealing with angry customers, not a time-consuming, mechanical step they must bear with – lack of sincerity will come across and will only make things worse.

3. Find a resolution

Once the customer has vented, you can address their issue and offer solutions.
If the customer’s complaint is legitimate, be sure to apologise and take corrective action immediately. Make sure that your agents have the knowledge and authority to do so, as there is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being met with indecisiveness.

If the customer’s request isn’t justified, your agent still needs to take care of it in a way that will bring some resolution. An informative explanation needs to be provided as to why the complaint can’t be upheld, specific to the problem. Hiding behind “It’s our policy” will only infuriate an angry customer.