Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Don’t Have to Take It!

Abusive customers are the ones who make a CSR’s job truly difficult. They’ve crossed the line from just angry to inappropriate and abusive. They may even curse, threaten or become crude, but wait a minute. You don’t have to take that.

Because many customers truly believe that they are always right, a few feel entitled to treat the CSR in a way that is demeaning and abusive. This is not the case and this is never acceptable.

If you come across a customer who refuses to calm down and listen and who insists on being rude, crude and disrespectful, you do have rights. Approach them as you would an angry customer, letting them vent, and then providing a solution in a calm and respectful manner. Most will respond favorably but some will continue to escalate their anger and cross the line.

If that happens, still being calm, tell them that you want to help them but only if they calm down and refrain from using abusive and threatening language. Let them know that you cannot continue a conversation with someone who insists on using that kind of language and tone. Many times, they start to calm down a bit … but if they don’t.

If they continue to rant and rage after you have asked them specifically not to, make a warm transfer to a supervisor. Don’t transfer blindly, but let the caller know you are transferring them to a supervisor then put them on hold, contact the supervisor and let them know exactly what is going on and the demeanor of the caller. Often, knowing that their call has been escalated is enough to make them take it down a notch.

If the supervisor is unavailable and the abusive caller shows no sign of stopping, let him know you are happy to help him when he’s calmed down but you cannot work with someone who insists on exhibiting that kind of behavior or using that kind of language. Let them know that you’ll be glad to help him when he’s willing to speak with you in a reasonable manner. Finally don’t just hang up, let him know that you are going to release the call.

Callers will exhibit a range of emotions from emotional and upset to angry to frustrated, and that is fine. As a customer service professional, you are trained to handle those difficult callers. But as a professional and as a human being in general, you do not have to be subjected to abusive and threatening behavior.