ThinkLogic’s Top 5 Tips – How to handle a rude customer on the phone professionally (Q&A)

Your heart is racing; you feel your blood boil and heat up as you let all the negative words cut down your ego. “How dare you speak to me like that, who do you think you are?” are the thoughts that are ringing in your mind. If you work in a call center whether inbound or outbound, this is a very familiar scenario to you. Encountering a rude customer is another struggle call center agents face almost on a daily basis and without proper training or experience on how to deal with such scenarios, a phone call like this would probably ruin your mood for the entire day.

So what is the proper way to handle a rude customer on the phone? We sat down with Geneva Mejoy – Outbound Tele-specialist from Thinklogic Marketing to find out.

1. How long have you been working in the BPO industry?

Almost a year now. This is actually my first job and adjusting to this fast pace world was a challenge I wanted to overcome. Knowing how much I would learn really drove me to strive for excellence in this field.

2. As an outbound tele-specialist, how often do you deal with rude customers on the phone?

Almost every day. I work an eight-hour shift and since my specialty is outbound tele-lead gen, my average number of calls per day is around 120. So amongst the 120 calls, probably 2% of them are irate / rude customers.

3. What are some of the most difficult types of customers you have encountered?

Wow that’s a tough one since they are so many! Haha. But I think one of the most difficult customers to handle is the SARCASTIC ones. I would actually prefer an irate customer than a sarcastic one.

4. What advice can you give to people who encounter irate or rude customers on the phone? Can you share with us your best tips / practices?

Hmm I think my top 5 tips to handle a rude customers on the phone would be:

  1. Mind Set – I think this is the most important thing we need to master in this industry. No matter how harsh or rude the customer is on the phone, always remember not to take it personally.
  2. Always be professional – As much as you want to yell back at them, always remember you are representing a company and the reputation of the company mostly depends on how they deal with customers.
  3. Think like a boss – When faced with a rude customer, I sometimes imagine that I am the CEO of the company. This boosts my confidence and calms me down a lot enabling me to think more clearly. Finding a solution or a way to address the customers problem or concern is much more easy when you are calm.
  4. Sympathize – Being sympathetic towards your customer usually does the trick. Just by acknowledging their problem or apologizing for your call (if you have indeed interrupted their day with your phone call) usually defuses the situation. Keep it cool and sympathize.
  5. Know when to let go – Always follow your company’s procedure. Make sure you have done everything in your power to defuse the tension. Sometimes asking to put the customer on hold works but if all else fails and you sense that the customer no longer wants to solve anything and are just deliberately wasting both yours and their time, the professional thing to do is to politely end the call.

So what can we learn from all this? Being professional plays a key role when dealing with such costumers. By practicing professionalism and implementing these tips that have been shared will surely help you in your next encounter. If all else fails, you may also let your immediate supervisor know and help out in the situation before it escalates even further. A company’s reputation really depends on how they deal with customers, and a rude customer is STILL a costumer after all.