Lesson 9 – Dealing With Difficult Callers

Dealing With Difficult Callers

Description What They Do What We Do
  • Speak quickly
  • Snap orders
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Be service oriented and focus on what you can do to help
  • Speak quietly and be firm
  • Launches personal attack on your ethnic background, age, sex, position, etc.
  • May use profanity


  • Be quick
  • Refuse to justify yourself
  • Stay calm and defuse anger
  • If abuse escalates, get your manager involved
  • Record the events of the confrontation
  • Demand immediate action
  • Often loud tone of voice


  • Listen closely to the problem
  • Apologise
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Stay calm and don’t take it personally
  • Remain polite
  • Propose an action plan – then do it!
  • Exhibit a superior attitude
  • Like to remind you of your place
  • Know your job and do it well
  • Know our products and services
  • Be professional and polite
  • Put you on the spot
  • Enjoy baiting or teasing you
  • May insult your products and services
  • Be firm
  • Stick to business
  • Ask closed questions to redirect the attack
  • Be professional and well-mannered
  • Put up barriers to understanding
  • Display a ‘prove it to me’ attitude
  • Often a hidden agenda
  • Listen
  • Ask questions to reveal hidden agendas
  • Acknowledge and empathize their concerns.


Dealing with Challenges

  • You don’t know the answer to the customer’s question.
    Let the customer know that you don’t know the answer; ask your manager or supervisor.
  • You have to decline the customers’ request
    Apologise, if necessary, and inform the customer of what you can do. Explain your reasons for saying no.
  • Your computer is performing slowly and the customer is getting impatient.
    Inform the customer your computer is performing slowly; use transition statements to avoid long periods of silence.
  • The customer has unreasonable expectations.
    Highlight what you can do for the customer.
  • The customer is sceptical about what you’re telling him.
    Offer to show him proof or documentation; ask a manager or supervisor to confirm what you’ve told the customer.
  • The customer is angry for no apparent reason.
    Speak in a calm voice; acknowledge the customer’s feelings.
  • The customer refuses to give you all the information you need.
    Explain why you need the information and then ask the customer to reconsider giving it to you.