Protecting Call Center Reps from Caller Verbal Abuse

What is Caller Abuse?

Before you can solve the problem of caller verbal abuse, it’s important to understand what it is. Your reps likely deal with at least one angry caller a day—they’re frustrated, they’re fed up, and they want their problem dealt with. That angry caller crosses the line into abuse when they start berating or belittling your employees, yelling and screaming at them, or using foul language—this abusive behavior should not be tolerated in the least.

How Do You Handle an Abusive Customer in a Call Center?

Over time, continued verbal abuse will take its toll on your employee, leaving them dealing with mental and emotional issues, and you experiencing a high turnover rate. Here are some tips to help your employees deal with call center verbal abuse, and some to hopefully help you prevent caller abuse altogether:

Identify Issues

Identify issues within your company that could lead customers to feel angry and frustrated and correct them. No one likes to sit on hold for excessive periods of time, be transferred from one person to another who still can’t help them, or have to repeat their account information or reason for calling over and over.

Use Surveys

Send out a survey to customers regularly asking for input on what makes them frustrated, and what your company and call center reps can do to help curb this frustration.

Remind Customer of Recording

At the first signs of hostility, or when the situation with the caller seems to be escalating, the rep should remind the customer that their call is being recorded—this should help defuse some customers.

Call Back Later

Offer a call back to prevent the customer from sitting on hold forever, and to hopefully give them time to cool off and compose themselves.

Show That The Rep Cares

Rather than yelling back at a customer, encourage your reps to try to understand where the customer is coming from. Being assertive, but understanding, may help the abusive customer feel like someone is actually listening and trying to help, which in turn may de-escalate the situation.

Stay Professional

While no employee should have to sit back and take verbal abuse from a customer, it’s important that they don’t lash out back against the customer. Stay professional and make it clear to the customer that they need you to solve their problem, but you’re not going to help them if this behavior continues.

Establish Procedures

Make sure you have clearly laid out policies and procedures for dealing with an abusive customer, so employees know at what point they should terminate or forward the call.

Allow Reps to Use Their Best Judgement

Give reps the okay to hang up. There is only so much they can do to try to calm someone down, and it’s not their job to sit on the line and be yelled at by a belligerent customer.

Learn from the Past and Move Forward

Take each bad experience your reps encounter as an opportunity to reevaluate your call center abuse policy and make sure every team member understands the proper procedures for dealing with an abusive caller.

Are you looking for advice or help with your call center or customer service outsourcing? Contact ROI Solutions and let us help your business grow.

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