How to deal with difficult customers over the phone
Share this

How to deal with difficult customers over the phone

We've all had to deal with difficult customers at some point. By the end of the call, you can either still have an angry customer who won't return in the future. Or, you can listen, hear what they have to say and leave the call with a happy customer who has had a positive experience. 

This blog can make sure the next time you have a difficult customer, you're left with the latter. 


The cost of an unhappy customer call

Forbes found that lousy customer service costs businesses an estimated $75 billion a year. Today’s consumers are blessed with so much choice, no matter what they’re trying to purchase. Any kind of negative experience and they can simply take their business elsewhere. 

Customer service is entirely under your control. If customers are running into a recurring issue, then it’s up to you to make improvements. The old adage is that the ‘customer is always right’ and there is some truth to it. 

No matter how frustrated the caller there is always the opportunity to rectify the issue.


Tips on how to handle a demanding customer call


1. Listen

Hardly a groundbreaking tip but still an important one. Give the caller the chance to outline their entire frustration without interruption. You’ll find it easier to deal with the situation if you know all the details. Once you’ve heard what they have to say you’ll be better placed to know what the next steps are. 


2. Avoid emotional reactions.

Again, an obvious point to make but still an incredibly important one.This is the cardinal rule of customer phone service: do not react emotionally. Some callers might shout, swear or lie when making their point. You’ll need to remain calm and professional no matter how they try to push your buttons.


3. Locate the source of the problem.

As you listen, you can begin to figure out the root of the problem. Whether it’s a faulty product or a missing item, you need to identify what the caller is hoping to achieve and work out the most effective way of resolving the issue. 


4. Try not to put the caller back on hold.

No one likes being put on hold. Avoid doing it if possible but if there really is no other way around it, at least communicate with the caller what’s happening. Outline why they’re being put on hold, who you’re transferring them to (if applicable) and how long they can expect to wait.


5. Be honest and avoid promises you can't keep.

There will be a natural impulse to tell the client exactly what they want to hear and to get the phone call done as soon as possible. If a problem is not found, the customer will either keep calling back or take their business elsewhere. A real solution needs to be found; this is why it is better to tell a customer in clear terms what you know. If you don't have a solution, inform them that you could not find one and investigate if another option is available. 


6. Show empathy.

Remember you’re having a conversation with another human being. Empathise with their situation and be honest about what will happen next. Try and build rapport and don’t be afraid to inject some personality. You’ll find this is the quickest way to create trust with a caller. 


7. Ensure the call runs smoothly

No matter the issue, all callers want to find a quick resolution to their issue. The last thing they want to deal with is a poor connection, dropped calls or endless choice trees that seem to just go in circles. Customer service is less painful when you’re using a tool that’s designed with both parties in mind. 


If you seek a powerful yet easy-to-use phone system that will ensure your customer service calls are positive, then look no further than CircleLoop. 

One of the most effective ways to improve your calls with difficult customers is to listen to previous examples you’ve experienced. 

It’s not always easy to listen back to our mistakes but they present a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow. CircleLoop’s call recording and review feature is the perfect tool businesses like yours can use to reflect on customer service. 

For a closer look at how CircleLoop works and the vast range of features it has to make your life easier, why not book onto one of our free demonstration calls now? Alternatively, you can get started with a free trial and see how easy it is to use for yourself.