Impact Learning Systems


Stop Yelling at Me! Peggy Carlaw

angry cusomer 1 Stop Yelling at Me!It seems to me that John Q. Pub­lic is get­ting more angry and rude as the months go by. Start­ing in the mid­dle of last year, I noticed when I was lis­ten­ing to calls at clients' that cus­tomers would just start scream­ing as soon as the phone was answered by some unsus­pect­ing rep. Why?

I think it's partly the econ­omy, partly the speed of life, partly peo­ple are sick of IVRs and try­ing to make their way through night­mare call trees, and partly bad food and no exer­cise. Really! Also, as I noted in my short post on Cus­tomer Ser­vice 2.0, we're all tired of wait­ing on hold to talk to peo­ple who aren't skilled enough or well trained enough to help us.

What's the best way to deal with these peo­ple if you find your­self on the other end of the phone? You may want to tell angry cus­tomers to stop yelling at you, but the best way to get these folks to calm down is to just let them vent. Your job is to lis­ten. Don't inter­rupt! If you stay calm, don't take it per­son­ally, and give that per­son your undi­vided atten­tion, you'll find that he or she often calms down. It feels sooooo good to have some­one actu­ally lis­ten to you and try to under­stand your prob­lem, don't you think? Yet, how many times do you feel that some­one is really lis­ten­ing? My guess is, not often. I've seen this tech­nique work time and time again to the extent that the cus­tomer not only calms down, but devel­ops a good rap­port with the cus­tomer ser­vice or tech­ni­cal sup­port agent by the end of the call.

Research has shown that cus­tomers who have had a prob­lem solved by a com­pany are more loyal than cus­tomers who have never had a prob­lem. So if you want to improve cus­tomer loy­alty and get cus­tomers to stop yelling, pass this tip on to your call cen­ter agents.

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  • Glenn Clover

    Peggy has it nailed! When deal­ing with one par­tic­u­lar group of potentially-aggravated cus­tomers (those who are the sub­ject of col­lec­tion calls from a med­ical office), one of the BEST ways to defuse their anger and attempts to deflect requests for pay­ment is to agree with them and let them vent. Exam­ple: Cus­tomer: "Your fees are too high! Response: "You're right, they do seem pretty high some­times… would you like to make that pay­ment using your credit card?" Peo­ple who are upset often just want some­one to lis­ten to them, and once that is accom­plished they become much more will­ing to lis­ten themselves.

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