Call center agents are used to encountering a wide variety of issues as part of their everyday job. A customer might have received the wrong product or need help navigating the company’s website. The agent might get a call about a technical problem or need to explain how to use a product via live chat.

But how should they handle customer complaints in a call center? When emotions are running high, experienced agents know how to handle an angry customer in a call center—without losing their cool. This is why it’s so important to hire an experienced call center to handle your customer service calls.

Check out our guide to learn more about how agents handle escalations in a call center. By following a tried and true call center escalation process template, the best agents know just when to escalate a call to a supervisor and de-escalate any call in a professional manner.

1. Staying Calm

The most important factor in every step of the call center escalation matrix is to stay calm. Call center agents are able to remember that anger expressed by the caller is not likely a personal attack, but a customer that has built-up anger that they need to release. The best agents know that firing back at the customer won’t help anyone, but staying calm certainly will.

2. Listening to Understand

Once an agent has committed to staying calm, they use their training to exercise active listening. But the most effective listening isn’t just about letting the customer ramble while tuning out. Instead, the agent listens to really get to the heart of the issue. Why is the customer so frustrated? What might help the customer feel better?

3. Determining an Objective

Most escalation calls have two objectives:

  1. Helping the customer have a more positive view of the company
  2. Resolving the issue they’ve brought to the table

The agent takes time to clarify the objective, considering how they want the customer to feel when they come in contact with the company in the future.

4. Showing Empathy

The most effective call escalation procedures involve showing empathy for the customer. Everyone wants to be heard and understood, and showing empathy almost always calms down even the angriest person. Agents show empathy by saying phrases like:

  • I understand your frustration.
  • This must be very difficult for you.
  • I’m sure you’re eager to find a resolution.
  • I am here for you.

5. Avoiding the Hold Button

How do you handle an escalation call? One of the most important things all call center agents know is to never put an angry customer on hold. Most customers have stewed over their feelings for quite a while, and putting them on hold will only further their frustrations. Instead, agents repeat information back to the caller, talk them through the problem, and let them know what they’re doing to find a solution.

6. Offering a Positive Solution

Ultimately, every customer is seeking a solution to their problem. So, agents work to de-escalate the situation by offering a deal that appeals to their situation. This could range from sending a replacement product to providing a discount coupon for future purchases. Agents make sure the offer is equal to the scale of the problem, but also realistic. They won’t make lofty promises they can’t keep! Solutions might include:

  • Providing several options
  • Offering a refund
  • Giving the customer a voucher
  • Going out of the way to make the customer smile

7. Knowing When to Bring in a Supervisor

Knowing how to de-escalate a supervisor call is an art. As long as the customer and the agent are calm, there probably won’t be a need to bring in a supervisor. But if the customer’s anger continues to escalate or if they are verbally abusive, then call center agents know when it’s time to take the conversation to the next level of authority.

8. Following Up with the Customer

A resolution has been reached and the call is over. But the task isn’t complete yet—now, it’s time to follow up with that customer to ensure their happiness. Agents often go the extra mile by sending a quick email, text, or call to check in on the customer and make sure the offered solution is working for them. The customer is often surprised and delighted by the added effort.

Get Help Handling Escalation Calls

So what is escalation in a call center? If you need help discussing and designing a call escalation procedure to handle angry customer calls, ROI Call Center Solutions is ready to help.
Outsource your call center services to our experts and get professional, expert assistance in serving your customers. Our call center agents have all the training and experience required to handle any type of escalation call that comes their way while helping to build customer loyalty and promote your brand.