As one of the most renowned call center outsourcing companies, managing outsourced customer service for 100s of clients, we understand the pressure customer service agents are under to satisfy the customer in every call. This, more often than not, involves providing an instant result or alleviating the customer’s apprehensions. There are times when this task becomes impossible and the caller utters the most dreaded words in a call center – ‘let me speak to your manager”.
This could occur in two scenarios. In the first instance, the customer could make the request as soon as the call is connected. In the second, the conversation descends to a juncture where the customer feels that they only to resolve an issue is to speak to a superior in the call center outsourcing companies. Whether the request was made escalating request was made immediately or subsequently, it lands the call center agent in a dilemma on what course to take – comply with customer’s request immediately and disrupt the manager, which also puts a question mark on his ability to handle complex scenarios or try to change customer’s mind which can also backfire and may further infuriate the customer. On the other hand, with the right skills and judgement, the call center agent can handle the situation at his end.
Most of the call center outsourcing companies hold extensive training, mock sessions and case studies to train their call center agents on how to handle such scenarios. This post explores the ways to do so.
Encourage the customer to open up and talk to you
A call center agent cannot solve a problem if the customer refuses to explain it. He simply demands to speak to the manager. This implies that whatever led to the demand was a pre-existing condition before the phone conversation started in the first place. The task is to decipher the preceding conditions leading to the present call. For esclation handling, call center outsourcing companies should first and formost train their call center agents on how to get the customer to open up? To begin with, call center agent should acknowldge that the caller is upset and politely ask somethig like ‘Sir, I understand that you are upset and I am guessing it is because somewhere we failed to meet your expecations…’ Since you are already admitting the responsibility and showed that you are willing to understand his problem, chances are that he will gradualy start explaining you the issue.
Decide what to do next
If the call center agent successfully pulled off the step above, the customer would most likely tell him his grouse with the company or its product. The next step for the call center agent would be to determine if the problem is one he can solve on your own or it indeed required a manager intervention. This is specially crucial if you outsource customer support to call center outsourcing companies because this decision really depends on the level of authority that outsourced customer service agents have.
If the call center agent can solve the problem without recourse to the manager, instead of telling the customer that you will be handling it, ask if he will allow you to resolve the issue for him. Hopefully, given the rapport you have built, the chances are that he would reply in affirmative but if he does not, it may be a good idea to pass on to the manger, that all call center outsourcing companies usually have one board, without further insistence.
Refer To a Manager
As much as you want to solve every problem, some customers are simply adamant and wouldn’t listen to your advice. For these kinds, the best option is to refer them to the manager the previously requested for. However, it’s best to offer to have the manager call them back. This gives the manager adequate time to understand the customer’s needs before taking the call and gives some time to the customer to cool down a little. Just make sure that you do keep your promise and call back is made. All call center outsourcing companies managing outsourced customer service should always have a manager on duty for such escalation calls.
Create a Team of Expert
A major issue in call center outsourcing companies is that managers are spending a major chunk of their time handling escalations calls rather than improving performance. While this advice is directed towards call center outsourcing companies rather than to individual agents, it is an effective way of dealing with escalation. It would be best for the call center outsourcing companies to have a dedicated team of experts for dealing with call escalation. These individuals should work directly with the managers to ensure that the right answers are given to customers
The Delayed Request and it’s Prevention
This is where the demand for the manager isn’t immediate. This can be particularly demoralizing for reps of call center outsourcing companies because it indicates that the customer has lost confidence in the prospect of the call. There are several reasons why the customer could make the request in this instance. Some of the prominent reasons are as follows:
- The customer evaluates the conversation so far and finds that no progress has been made.
- The rep is perceived as lacking in the prerequisite knowledge to solve the customers’ problem.
- The customer thinks the customer care agent doesn’t understand his problem.
- The rep uses words that give the impression that he cannot solve the customer’s problems.
The appropriate solution when this occurs is to immediately transfer the call to an adequate manager. But, it would be important to understand how to avoid this situation.
The following are ways to do so:
Understand Customer Emotions
Agents of call center outsourcing companies need to understand how to pick up cues from the customer’s tone. Before the customer demands to speak with a superior, there must have been subtle cues in the conversation that helps the rep discover where the customer is at. If the tone of the customer shows frustration, you should immediately empathize with him and quickly give positive assurances.
Knowledge is essential
This tip is more important for agents of call center outsourcing companies. Because such a rep doesn’t work at the company, he needs to go the extra mile to understand the business and key components of the company. Consequently, when he speaks to the customer, the knowledge gap isn’t evident. There should also be constant knowledge refresher about processes in the company.
Have the Next Step in Mind
It’s instructive to have a checklist at the back of your mind when speaking to a customer. The conversation with the customer should progress according to that checklist. Hence, when you fail to make progress, you can quickly guide the customer to the intended end. This checklist should be flexible depending on the purpose of the call and the customer’s needs. Call center outsourcing companies should hold mock calls during training sessions so that agents can prepare themselves.
At LiveSalesman, we understand how to manage conversations. Our representatives understand the psychology of dealing with all kinds of customer and would ensure that the escalation rate is reduced to the barest minimum. If you are looking to outsource customer support, get in touch with us.