How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Deal with a Difficult Caller

As a customer care agent, you know that at some point during your day, you’re going to end up with a difficult caller. Dealing with difficult people is stressful and can ruin your day if you let it. However, you can use your emotional intelligence to deal with these callers. Here are a few of the most common difficult customers, and strategies for managing them.

“Try to identify if you are in control of your emotions – rate yourself. Then try to raise your EI with thoughtful actions that help you improve your influence on the call. No one wants a person with low EI to oversee the conversation that brings the call to a place that lowers the survey results. You will also enjoy being in the call center more often because you will realize that you are in control and can have greater job satisfaction,” says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.

The Yeller

Yellers tend to feel personally injured by your company and in some cases, they just need to vent. In others, they want a make-good.  When dealing with a screamer, remember, they are not angry with you and you should not take it personally. However, they curse at you, insult you or threaten you, transfer them to a supervisor immediately. When dealing with a yeller:

  • Stay calm – Don’t let your own temper get the best of you.
  • Be courteous but be firm – You both deserve respect.
  • See the problem from the customer’s perspective – In many cases, this all the caller really wants.
  • Apologize sincerely – This helps them feel heard and validated.
  • Offer a real solution – Work together to find a solution that the caller is satisfied with.

The Rambler

Ramblers are typically friendly, but they will keep you on the line longer than necessary. Ramblers may focus on their problem, asking an endless barrage of questions. Or, they may talk to you about their personal life and problems. Either way, they can derail your productivity and your metrics. Ramblers are often lonely, so it’s important to be courteous while working your way off the line. Use phrases to gently bring the conversation to a close, like:

  • I don’t want to take up more of your time.
  • Before I let you go, I just wanted to say thank you for your business.
  • It has been a pleasure speaking with you this morning.

The Demander

This caller dials in knowing exactly what he or she wants and isn’t going to settle for anything less. They may want a refund, free products, additional products, etc. Demands can often be unreasonable, so you have to walk a fine line between empathy and service, while sticking to company policies. Remember to:

  • Apologize sincerely for the issue – Show that you heard what they said.
  • Be confident and clear when stating your company policies – Don’t leave any room for ambiguity.
  • Be apologetic again for being unable to accommodate their wishes – Show that you understand their frustration and you’re sorry you can’t give them what they are asking.
  • Offer another solution that is within your purview – Do offer them something that follows company policy.

The key to dealing with difficult callers is to empathize, which is the key to emotional intelligence. When all else fails. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them the way you’d like to be treated.

“Respect is one of the core values at Contemporary Staffing Solutions! We don’t wait to earn it; we give it every minute, everyday because we take the high road and want to show that CSS bring solutions to everyone with a low or high emotional intelligence,” says Marybel DiScala, Digital Marketing Leader, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.

If you are a talented customer service professional looking to grow your career,  reach out to the recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions (CSS) today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals.

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Contemporary Staffing connects job seekers to hiring managers nationally in the following professions: Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, IT, Salesforce, and Sales & Marketing.