11 Surefire Ways to Annoy Callers

11 Surefire Ways to Annoy Callers_main image

Call center agents can make or break your success in customer service and customer experience. If you want succeed, you may want to make sure they avoid doing or saying the following to your calling customers:

Telling them that you don’t deal with their issue

There are callers that present a problem or issues that have nothing to do with you.  Saying that you don’t deal with that is a negative way of wording and communicates that your caller is an inconvenience and a burden. For that, you may tell them instead “It looks like you need [another department]. Ill just transfer you/find you the number.”

Telling them that you need to leave for home/go on break

Even if it takes the agent to go late at home, he/she should offer the same service everyone gets to the last caller. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. Although you really need to leave, it doesn’t give you the license to make the caller feel an inconvenience. You may say to the caller instead: ”I just need to transfer you to a colleague. Sorry to keep you.”

Asking them to give their Christian name

This phrase reflects cultural insensitivity and definitely sounds unprofessional regardless whether or not the caller is a Christian. You may say instead, “Can I have your first name please?”

Asking them to “Calm down”

If the caller is already yelling, it’s not a good idea to give them an order. Instead you may say: “I can solve this problem for you, but we need to discuss this calmly.”

Telling them that you’re a newbie

Saying that you’re new in the company makes the customer lose their confidence in you and would make them want to be transferred to someone else. You can ask a colleague for help without making the caller think you’re out of your depth by saying instead: “I just need to consult with a colleague. The line will go quiet for a minute or two.”

Telling them you’ll hang up/terminate the call if s/he doesn’t stop yelling

Just like #4, laying down the law doesn’t help in any way. Moreover, hanging up on the customer will just mean passing on the problem to a colleague. You may say the same in #4: ““I can solve this problem for you, but we need to discuss this calmly.”

Asking them if they would like to speak to a supervisor

If you reach an impasse and it seems that the next step for the customer is to reach someone more senior, instead of passing them on to the supervisor you may say instead: “What would you suggest for us to solve this problem for you?”

Telling them bluntly that you don’t know

Although you’re not expected to know all the answers, you should at least be confident that you’ll find a way to know the ones you don’t. Telling them “I don’t know” is a sure way of losing the customer’s confidence in you. Instead say: “That’s not something I know off the top of my head, but I can certainly find out for you.”

Addressing them as “Mate”

Although a natural and proper conversation is encouraged over a robotic one, addressing them as “mate” way crosses the line. Address them with their name with Mr. or Mrs. X as your starting point—calling them by their first name is fine as long as you you’ve had a careful discretion before doing so.

Telling them that you’ll put them on hold

“On hold” is an irritant to the callers’ ears—probably the most disliked phrase in the entire history of customer service. Given that putting the caller on hold is inevitable, the next time you do so, make sure you tell them why and how long will it take them to wait. You may say: “I need to [do something]. I’ll be back on the line with you soon – two or three minutes at the most.”

Nothing at all

Dead air time is a major no-no. It’s okay however if the customer knows what’s going on and that means telling him/her why you’re going to be silent. Instead of keeping the customer left hanging, say: “This is just going to take 30 seconds or so – I’m still here, I’m just going to be silent.


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