How To Handle A Difficult Customer Over The Phone

5 min read

With all businesses settling into a virtual work environment during COVID-19, it is now more necessary than ever to keep in touch with your customers and prospects over the phone. While reaching out to them over social media and email keeps you on top of their mind, communicating with them over a call every once in a while adds a more personal touch.

Whether it is to take the next sales step with a prospect or attending to customer care calls, speaking on the phone allows prospects and customers a chance to ask their questions and finalise terms quicker than they would do over emails. While most physical stores remain closed, customers may also need after sales services, which is why being available on the phone is very critical at this point in time.

Sales, marketing, and customer reps are very used to communicating with customers on a daily basis and know how to maintain a positive rapport with them, but just every once in a while a tough customer makes it difficult to close a sale or satisfy their query.

Being in the service industry, you know you can't be rude, talk agitatedly, or loudly at them no matter what their tone of voice is - after all, "customer is king." So what do you do in such a situation? Do you simply defer the call to someone else? Hang up and lose out on a sale? Accept defeat and falsely agree that they are right?

No need to get yourself down over these difficult customers who are nothing but a small hiccup in your journey as a sales or marketing rep. We've put together some simple to follow steps to deal with a customer who isn't understanding you. Stay calm, follow these steps, and try to resolve the problem positively!

Listen closely and find out where the problem stems from

Make sure you listen to everything the caller has to say and not talk over them even if you have something important to say. After all, they just want their complaint or question to be heard and resolved. Listening closely can also increase the chances of you actually finding a solution for their problem and subside the whole situation. By gathering more and more information about what the problem is, you can fit the pieces in place and get to a resolution quicker.

Validate their feelings and empathise

Always acknowledge the fault at your end and apologise, saying you will ensure such a thing doesn't happen again. Validating their concern and empathising with them is a much simpler way to calm the caller than actually telling them to "calm down!"

Stay calm, composed, and pleasant

There will be times when you want to shout back or even be sarcastic, but fight that urge because it just isn't worth it. Over the course of your career, train yourself to be calm and pleasant on the phone no matter what the situation is. There is no need to lose your cool and make matters worse.

Be direct and don't make unattainable promises

While an irate customer may confuse or scare you into making empty promises just to get them off your back at the moment, that is never a good idea to do. It will only lead to even angrier calls in the near future! Always be honest and direct, without using vague terms that are undecipherable.

Don't get emotional

A certain customer may really be pulling at your strings and making you angry, but this is not the time to get emotional. Always try and separate yourself from the situation and think about it in practical terms instead of with anger or annoyance. Think about the most logical thing to do or say to help the caller and take it from there.

Try not to put them on hold

An already irritated caller is never going to be happy about being put on hold! They hate nothing more than hearing the (supposed to be soothing) hold music when all they want to do is be heard by a company representative. If you need to call another department, try to have that conversation with the caller on the line as well.

Provide more than one solution

While some problems may be resolved easily with a simple solution, there are times when you have the option of providing your caller with more than one solution. Giving numerous options can lead to an overall more positive resolution and help you earn the customer's trust back by resolving the problem completely!

In the end, if you truly don't have anything to offer the caller, then instead of wasting time with them over the phone, simply tell them you don't have a solution for them at this moment, but will get back to them as soon as you do!

Making sure you have all the necessary details about the caller at hand plays an important role in determining how much you will be able to help them over the phone. An agitated customer will only get more annoyed if you keep asking them to repeat the information they have already given you. Using a Customer Relationship Management Software for your company can play a very big hand in providing you with all of the insight needed quickly. It is a seamless and all-inclusive platform that helps everyone on the team stay updated, whether you are working from office or home.

To know more about how a CRM can benefit your company, get in touch with FIVE CRM now!


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