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Facing abuse at a call centre? Read this

July 19, 2005

After the recent London bomb blasts, call centre executives are experiencing increased abusive and hate phone calls from their international customers.       

Are you one of these employees? 

image What should you do to counter the rage you know has really nothing to do with you?

Nasha Fitter, BPO training expert and the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a training provider to BPO personnel, corporates and individuals, has some useful tips to offer:  

1. Remember, it is not about you

Think back to a time where you lost your cool with a customer service agent or service employee when you were having a bad day. 

Your anger did not stem from the actual customer service problem; it stemmed from a personal issue you were facing that day. 

Does that make you an awful person? Of course not. Keep in mind that when people are frustrated, they say things they may not necessarily mean. 

2. Count from one to 10

This will help you to become more patient as well as increase your level of concentration. While counting, think of something that makes you happy. 

3. Keep your voice calm

It has a calming effect on the customer and conveys that you are in control. People lose respect for those who can't control their anger.

4Politely request the customer to speak slowly and clearly

Ask your team leader what your company's rules for abusive customers are.

Find out if you are able to tell them to lower their volume, watch their language or simply hang up the call. 

5Getting agitated? Keep the customer on hold

Do this for a second or two, take a deep breath and get back to your call.

6Listen to classical music

Bring a Walkman, Discman or Mp3 player to work; make sure you have some classical music.

Classical music has been found to help people calm down their agitated nerves and think clearly.  

7Is your call getting out a hand? Transfer it to your team leader/ supervisor

She/ he could step in and tackle the customer.

8De-stress with a breathing technique or yoga

After an abusive phonecall, use the de-stressing facilities at your workplace.

Do breathing exercises at your desk or in the bathroom. 

Fast breathing followed quickly by slow breathing can do a lot to calm your nerves.

Jumping around, even for a minute, or punching the air can help to release frustration.

9. Press the mute button and swear back

As your customer rattles off the abuses, you may be tempted to press the mute button and swear back silently, even as you switch to your sweetest tone when talking to him or her.

10Chat with your team leader

Had a very taxing day with too many distressing calls?

She/ he will play counsellor and reassure you the abuse was directed at the company, not at you.

The last word

As a customer service executive, it is important to empathise with the customer instead of viewing him/ her as the enemy.

A positive and mature attitude is what will really make you excel at your job and do well in the service industry.

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 9

Sub: Please do not give wrong advice

I think u are giving wrong customer service advice. U are actually asking operators to push the hold button & abuse the customer back. Do ...

Posted by Samidha

Sub: Ridiculous


Posted by Rishikesh

Sub: Is it naive on my part?

to think that these things occur to people inspite of having a quarreling relation with pakistan, a constant thorn in the heal. why dont the ...

Posted by senthil kumar

Sub: Code of Conduct

1.There should be code of conduct for everyone(customer,client,executives) 2.Media should play important role for all this.

Posted by pratyush

Sub: Call centre abuse.

What about the abuse (repeated calls from call centers) that we have to withstand? I get repeated calls especially from ICICI bank and it's associate ...

Posted by kb


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