blog_icon_art The Marchex Blog

Scary callers and how top call center agents can handle them

Happy Halloween! Since it’s the day of all things scary, we asked our analysts at the Marchex Institute to share some insights about the more frightening calls they’ve analyzed. They found three types of dread-inducing callers. Check them out and see which ones you recognize.

First, there’s the Venter. Usually, venters are calling about a frustrating issue that they’ve been unable to resolve quickly. Often, they’ve had to call multiple times and they take it out on the agent. Agents, get calls such as these:

“This is my third call to fix this problem… Why can’t you people get this fixed?”

For a successful outcome to this type of conversation, it’s important to emphasize to the caller that a resolution is forthcoming.

Emphasize your commitment to helping

When venters call with a problem, it may help to make them feel like their issue matters.  By stating a commitment to resolve their issue, the rest of the call may go smoother, for both for the caller and the call agent.

Another scary caller is the Demander. Demanders want a better deal than they originally agreed to, or better than an offer states. Demanders will stay on the phone and even endure multiple transfers to have their request met. Here’s how a call with a Demander might go:

“I know that’s the regular price, but I’m sure you can give me a better deal. I’m a good customer, and I’m sure you don’t want me to call (your competitor)—what can you do for me?”

Or this:

“I’m disappointed because a lot of other companies are offering lower prices and… I’ve been with your company fifteen years and I don’t really want to leave, but if it’s coming down to cost here, then going to have to…”

These callers are questioning the value of the service. For a successful outcome, the caller should realize they are getting good value.

Restate the value of your service

These customers should be reminded of your company’s value proposition, which can go beyond merely price. Try restating the benefits or features of your product or service to remind them why they picked your company in the first place. If your agents are empowered to offer a deal, even if it’s not the one asked for, this can often successfully resolve these calls.

Our final scary caller is the Canceller. This caller, while often calm or matter-of-fact, may be the scariest of all. They have done their homework and know there’s a better deal out there. Or perhaps they’re unhappy with the service they’ve received and have made up their mind to move. Here’s how a conversation with a Canceller might go:

 “I told your customer representative at the time to use this call as a training example to see how you treat customers that have been with you for over 12 years. I want to cancel.”

Or this:

 “I’m upset about the miscommunication I was given—I’ve been a customer for 15 years! I feel like I should cancel my account and go to [your competitor].”

Dealing with Cancellers can be more difficult, because they’re most often operating from a rational mindset: it’s strictly about value, and they think they’ve found better value elsewhere. Having a conversation with these callers and being a good listener may be the best chance at turning them around.

Be willing to apologize

People make mistakes; companies do, too. If during a call, you discover an error on the part of your company, consider training your agents to quickly owning up to it and offering to make it right—this can go a long way toward deescalating a scary caller to simply a customer with an issue that you’re already addressing.

Halloween comes but once a year, but it makes sense to be prepared to deal with scary calls every day.

To learn how Marchex can help you improve relations with your callers, read our e-book, “Last Mile Marketing: Converting a Caller into a Customer.