Dealing With the 5 Most Challenging Types of Call Center Customers

Aug 17, 2016
call center customers

Trin! Trin! The phone rings and John, a customer service representative employed by a reputed company, hurries to pick up the call. Before he could even utter a word, the customer at the other end of the phone starts yelling, “I’ve had enough of you. I want my issue to be resolved immediately.” And he demands to speak to a superior. Upon hearing this, a visibly stunned John, tries to calm the air by using standard rebuttal techniques, but none comes to his rescue. In fact, these rebuttals only manage to add more fuel to the fire and complicate the situation. But weren’t these standard rebuttals supposed to help John deal with the customer? Where did he go wrong?

The thing that John missed was that every customer is different and he just can’t follow a standard template to appease each and every customer. With this is mind we have put together a list of five most difficult types call center customers and ways to handle them-

The Chatty Cathy

Catty Cathy is the kind of customer, who is more than happy to eat into your time and drive you off track. If you let them roll, they can easily stitch a series of irrelevant stories and before you know it you’ll find yourself chatting about a holiday in Hawaii, instead of the technical assistance that you are supposed to provide. Hence beware of this kind of customers!

How do you deal with them: Be focused and do everything in your prowess to make sure that the conversation is on track? Also be wary of the kind of questions that you are asking and try to close every avenue for potential new conversation. And whenever the conversation goes off track, try to immediately bring the focus back on issue at hand by offering short, yet polite answers.

The Angry Al

Angry Al is the kind of customer who calls you after he has reached the end of his rope. To be more elaborate, this kind of customers would have tried everything in their power to fix to the issue at hand, but would have failed miserably. Hence by the time they reach you, they will be snappy, frustrated or, worse, actually yelling.

How do you deal with them: Kill the anger of this kind of customer through sympathy. Be a friend, step into the customer’s shoes to get a genuine sense of how they are feeling and finally tender an honest apology.

Also make sure that you don’t further complicate the situation by bouncing them from one desk to another or by putting them on long holds. Make sure that you work as quickly and diligently as possible, and resolve the issue within the shortest possible time.

The Negative Nancy

This kind of customers can be a hard nut to crack. The reason for this is that they are neither aggressive nor overly expressive about their disappointment, like say an Angry Al or a Catty Cathy. Instead, much like a disappointed parent, they drop passive remarks about your product or service and it can be very hard to decide whether or not to act upon their concerns.

How do you deal with them: You need to remain positive and deal with Negative Nancys with a great level of tact. Keep a smile on your face and never let them to get you down. Do everything within your prowess to resolve their issue within the shortest possible time and show them that they have invested their faith in the right company.

Also try to win them over by asking them to provide feedback regarding the pitfalls in your operations. This way they will feel more valued, which can go a long way in helping you dispel the negativity about your brand in the heart of this kind of customers.

The Confused Cody

The Confused Cody accounts for more than half of the calls that you’ll receive at a call centers. This kind of customers isn’t necessarily angry nor are they talking your ear off. They are just in a state confusion about general stuffs such as how to use a product, complete a purchase and so on.

How do you deal with them: Be patient and listen to their queries carefully. Once you understand their issue, put them on hold for a brief period and consult your manual. If you still can’t figure out an answer, consult a peer or a senior employee and resolve the issue.

The Threatening Theo

Threatening Theo is the frustrated type who is all set to explode by the time he arrives at the other end of your phone. Many a times this kind of customers can be scarier than Angry Al and they might even threaten to leave your company for another one and pass some scary remarks.

How do you deal with them: Keep your cool and try to calm the situation by showing some sympathy, just like you do in the case of Angry Al. Remember to smile, be a friend and remain as understanding as you possibly can. If possible offer compensation and try to resolve the issue within the shortest possible time.

Yes, the aforementioned customer types may be difficult to handle over the phone, but that doesn’t mean that you throw in the towel and give in to their unreasonable demands. Stick to the tips and take control of the situation. Just remember: it doesn’t get easier, you just have to get better.