How to Handle Conflicts in Call Centers
Working in a call center carries the risk that an employee will encounter conflict with a customer. Employees cannot control how customers will react during phone calls. A customer could be upset or irate when she telephones the call center for assistance.
However, call-center employees can control how they react in these situations. By following certain guidelines, a customer-service representative can assist an emotional customer without causing further conflict.
Listen and Empathize
Listening to the customer without interrupting him can put the customer at ease. Interject only to ask questions pertinent to the problem at hand. Empathy also helps in calming a customer and setting him at ease. A customer is more likely to respond to a representative who is empathetic to his problems. Expressing understanding that he is upset is the first step to reassuring a customer you will do everything you can to help.
Leave Personal Feelings Aside
Remaining calm is the most important aspect of controlling conflict with a customer. Customers become agitated if you are on edge, and these factors can escalate conflict. Upset customers are not targeting you specifically, but your company as a whole, so refrain from letting your feelings interfere with your communication with the customer.
Collect Facts and Take Action
Reassure the customer that you will solve her problem, and then find out how you can solve it. Whether it’s asking co-workers’ advice, talking to your manager, making a phone call or opening a general investigation, do everything possible to solve the customer’s issue. If you find that the company is at fault, apologize to the customer and express your intention to resolve the matter.
Satisfy and Follow-through
Ask the customer if your efforts are satisfactory; continue attempting to solve the problem until the customer is satisfied.
Asking questions such as;
‘What would completely satisfy you?” or
“What can the company do to make you happy?”
Lets the customer know you have his best interest in mind. If you can’t reach agreement with the customer, you may be required to hand the problem to a higher authority.
Assure the customer that his issue will be handled and resolved; afterward, track the progress of the issue and keep him informed with a report by phone or e-mail.