Welcome to Part 2 of our post, where we talk about The Whiner, The Low Talker, The Megaphone, The Nice Guy, and The Ladder!
Refresher from Part 1: Not everyone has appropriate phone etiquette. In fact, if you’re on the phones, you’re sure to come into contact with each of the 10 types of callers. They aren’t all the shouting, angry caller that comes to mind when we picture a customer service challenge.
Instead, there seem to be 10 general types of callers. And as you might expect, there are different methods for handling each type of caller in the most efficient way. Some are dangerous, some are downright rude, and some are sweet.
We put together a reference for you, so keep these types in mind as you make your way through the maze that is customer service.
6. The Whiner
Someone calls your company and starts, for lack of a better word, whining about an issue they’ve experienced. This is completely different from a caller that expresses disappointment or dissatisfaction with their experience–these types of callers are full-on whining, rising and falling intonation included.
But it’s not your job to teach The Whiner that they’re using an ineffective method to correct the issue. It’s your job to correct the issue!
How to handle The Whiner
- Be respectful of the caller’s complaints
- Use active listening to mirror their statements
- Find out what will satisfy the caller and do your best to provide it
7. The Megaphone
Oh, HELLO! IT’S THE MEGAPHONE. Like The Low Talker (you’ll meet him below), The Megaphone has only one volume, and let’s just say it goes to 11. They aren’t rude, they aren’t angry, and apparently, they aren’t aware that they are shouting everything they say throughout the entire call.
Maybe they’re in a noisy, busy place and are shouting to compete with the environmental noise. Maybe they are shouting because they are hard of hearing. Maybe it’s because they just went to an amazing fireworks show. In any case, it hurts your ears and makes your head pound.
How to handle The Megaphone
- The Megaphone isn’t shouting out of anger, so don’t respond with anger
- Turn the volume on your receiver or headset down
- Speak at an appropriate volume–don’t shout back
8. The Low Talker
You’ll recognize these types of callers immediately. The Low Talker only has one volume and no matter how many times you politely ask them to speak up or repeat something, the decibel level doesn’t change.
It might not sound like The Low Talker is a difficult caller to handle, but it’s a real challenge to hear and assist someone who speaks so quietly when you’re working from a noisy call center or office. Things get miscommunicated, issues become harder to solve, and the situation is far from ideal. How do you deal?
How to handle The Low Talker
- Turn the volume all the way up on your headset or receiver
- Apologize and explain that you are having trouble hearing the caller
- Repeat all information back to them to ensure you’re not mishearing
9. The Ladder
This caller wants to speak to your supervisor–and then when they aren’t able to correct the issue, wants to speak to their supervisor, and so on. They are demanding, quite possibly arrogant, and especially difficult to manage.
To top it off, this type of caller may get frustrated at having to explain their displeasure to every supervisor they speak to since they repeatedly demand to be transferred.
We call them The Ladder because they ‘climb the ladder’ of a company’s hierarchy, looking for someone to handle what may be an irrational request.
How to handle The Ladder
At the root of a caller’s request (or demand) to be transferred to a superior is a lack of trust in your ability to efficiently solve the issue. Perhaps they didn’t get sufficient help from a customer service representative in the past or have experienced success with using the “Demand a supervisor” strategy in customer service interactions.
The best thing you can do? Keep your caller on the line with you long enough to show them you are capable of and invested in solving the problem they’re experiencing.
You can do that by telling them the supervisor is currently unavailable, but that you are more than happy to help them right now. Be polite. Don’t argue with the caller and reassure them that the problem will be taken care of.
- Don’t transfer the call
- Be polite
- Be agreeable
- Problem solve
10. The Nice Guy
The Nice Guy is a welcome reprieve from other types of callers. The mirage in the call center desert, Nice Guys speak at an appropriate volume, treat you with respect, and pride themselves on pleasant interactions. They know exactly what they need help with, and they don’t blame you for any issues they’ve experienced.
The chance of landing on a call with The Nice Guy is part of what keeps us going when answering the phones gets tough.
How to handle The Nice Guy
- Speak your appreciation – “You’ve been such a joy, thanks for calling and have a wonderful afternoon!”
- Don’t talk negatively about other callers to The Nice Guy
- Do something extra for them (a promo code, discount, follow up email, etc.)
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