When it comes to handling customers, not everyone is going to be easy to deal with. Whether you’re listening to complaints, inquiries, or simply conducting surveys, situations can escalate quickly. To handle these kinds of interactions, your employees are going to need more than generic responses and apologies — they will have to learn how to communicate. Maryville University communication experts note how learning how to relay messages has become a core skill professionals need in order to be successful in a number of jobs, most especially in customer-facing roles like call centers. This is especially true during times of conflict or misunderstandings.
However, not everyone is properly equipped to deal with these kinds of incidents from the start. Here are some things you can do to help prepare call center employees for difficult interactions:
Before anything starts, make sure your company has outlined procedures for addressing common complaints, including a series of possible solutions under each. In this regard, many companies have turned to technological solutions such as amplifAI to analyze calls, visualize performance, and propose personalized actions to help executives come up with the best possible solutions. Do not leave your employees to their own devices, and provide them the necessary support they need to get through the most challenging cases.
As customer expectations increase, it is the job of company executives to train their call center agents to effectively meet their customer’s needs. Invite top-performing agents to provide insights on how to effectively execute their jobs, explain their roles in building customer relationships, and come up with potential scenarios to help your employees prepare themselves for eventual situations.
Plenty of call center agents will put angry callers on hold in the hope that the pause will give them a moment to calm down. However, holding a call will only further frustrate them, making the situation even more difficult to handle. If putting the customer on hold cannot be avoided, at least make sure your employees do not leave them hanging for more than 20 seconds, which Call Centre Helper points out is the average wait time across industries.
Make sure it's company policy to allow refunds, vouchers, returns, or any other form of compensation as an apology for unsatisfied and unhappy customers. Although these things can, at first glance, be an expensive cost for a business to cover, researchers from New York University argue that these can actually serve to boost demand and future sales. That's because they show sincerity, and will make your employees’ job a lot easier. Be sure to train them on how to negotiate the right amount that will satisfy customers, while still keeping the business afloat.
Hold weekly meetings to discuss common complaints and problems your employees have encountered recently. This will provide you an avenue to work out better solutions together. And if you notice a large number of complaints towards a single product or service, take it up with the upper management and address the problem as soon as you can. These meetings can also be used to disseminate information on issues that people might ask about in the near future.
When you have done everything that you can to prepare them for the inevitable, it is time to put them to work the smart way. As discussed in our ‘Top 10 Reasons Call Center Coaching Fails To Improve Customer Experience’, compliance-driven fear is not an effective way to teach your employees how to work. Give them recognition, or praise whenever they handle a difficult client well. This will encourage them to take on a similar or better course of action the next time they encounter difficult people.
This guest post was written by Ava Carter.
The future of success in your contact center is contingent on how you impact performance in ways that are both immediate and sustainable. And it doesn’t matter whether your agents are on-site, at-home, full-time, part-time, or temporary – you must deliver on performance.
Coaching is one of the most significant tools we can use to deliver on the engagement and performance of our people – but we must develop our processes, our people and leadership skills, and our technology tools, in order to overthrow the pervasive challenges to achieving greater coaching effectiveness and supercharging contact center performance!
Melissa Pollock Customer Success at AmplifAI