If you’ve ever worked in a call center answering phones for a country not your own, you know that stress is everywhere, and you encounter it on a daily basis. Customers, especially American customers can be hard on foreign call center agents, rudeness is normal and unfortunately so is racism. The Washington Post had an article about this exact type of stress.
In the article a 25 year old call center operator named Rohail Manzoor said, ” ‘You Indians suck!’ an American screamed on the phone, He was using a lot of four-letter words, too. He called me names left, right and center.”
In the same article another call center consultant named Amit Narula said, “When some callers are unhappy with the service, their frustration often turns racist, they would say, ‘This is why you should not handle our work. Indians are not good enough.’ ”
If it sounds unbelievable, believe it. Many call centers offer various techniques to try to relieve stress caused by unhappy customers. Some of those techniques include massages, Yoga, gyms, pool tables and even classes that can help call center employees regulate breathing in an attempt to remain calm and relieve stress and pressure.
While most of this stress is unavoidable in the call center, there are a few things you can remember that can make a difference in your work day.
- Don’t take it personal.
- Don’t get in an argument.
- Fix the problem on the first phone call.
- Get to the root of the issue.
- Ignore ignorance.
Don’t take it personal.
Although someone may attack you on a personal level, remember that they don’t actually know you. They don’t know anything about you and therefore lack the ability to hate you. They may be angry and frustrated at the situation, but that isn’t your fault. You’re just trying to help.
Don’t get in an argument.
Sometimes it feels good to win.Â Sometimes it feels good to let the other person know they’re wrong.Â Often times the customer is NOT right.Â However, if you try to tell the customer that they’re wrong, they probably will get offended.Â If you must tell the customer they’re in error, try to use words like, “I understand why you think that but…” or “Many people feel the same way, unfortunately…”Â This will help them feel like you’re not attacking and arguing with them.Â They’ll feel better about the situation and treat you with more respect.
Fix the problem on the first call.Â
Most people hate having to call for help.Â They don’t like having to call customer service.Â If at all possible, do everything in your power to fix the problem without making the customer call back a second time.Â If you have to put them on hold, let me know that you’re trying to do everything you can to make sure they’re satisfied when they get off the phone.Â If you do need to transfer them, explain why and let them know if that if they need more assistance they can call you back personally and you’ll continue to help them.
Get to the root of the issue.
If a customer calls and says, “I hate this stupid Sony TV I bought, it doesn’t work!”Â What is the customer upset about?Â Are they mad at you or at their particular Sony TV?Â Obviously they’re not mad at you, but they might try to displace their anger on you.Â You need to assure this customer that you’ll take care of the problem and get it resolved.Â Before you do that, you need to know what the issue is.Â Politely ask the caller, “Sir, what is the exact problem that you’re experiencing?”Â With a question like that, you’ll be able get right to the bottom and find out what the problem is without starting an argument.
People are ignorant of what they don’t know.Â When someone calls you and says something hateful, remember that is ignorance.Â They most likely don’t actually “hate Indians” or think “Mexicans can’t speak English”, but in fact they’re angry and they are lashing out at you.Â You could fight back and tell them that you’re not Mexican but instead Peruvian, or you could ignore their hateful comments and get to the problem.Â If you get to the problem without fighting back, there is not argument to win or lose, after all it takes to people to argue.Â A person who avoids an argument always wins.
I hope those 5 tips help you reduce your stress while working at your call center.Â If you have additional tips, please leave a comment!