There will always be those callers who press your buttons and test your limits. It’s crucial for customer support representatives to stay calm under pressure. And, in such situations, patience is an essential attribute.
Why Patience is Central to Great Customer Experiences
Consider the following scenario.
Someone wants to renovate their restroom on their own. Let’s be clear: she isn’t a tile guru. After conducting extensive research online on projects like hers, she finally heads out to make the necessary purchases. She visits a locally recommended shop. The employee is kind, helpful, and accommodating. However, the employee’s tolerance quickly wears thin as she outlines the many options available for polishing tile edges.
The client goes on to describe what she’s searching for, but the store executive still doesn’t get it. She eventually develops erroneous assumptions about the client’s requirements and then refuses to budge from them. She closes by saying that the customer doesn’t need any further supplies since what she currently has is sufficient.
The staff member, in this instance, lost her cool, evident in her hostile appearance, cautious posture, and raised voice. The customer will, of course, divert project funds elsewhere. It’s unfortunate she didn’t use all her money at this first, highly regarded store.
Interactions like these happen in call centers every day, and agents who don’t display patience can cost the business.
How to Hone Your Patience? 6 Must-Do’s for Agents
Some people might be more patient than others, naturally, but there is no such thing as an irreparably impatient call center agent. From smarter scripts to personality training, there are many ways to work on your patience as a call center agent.
1. Always allow the customer to finish speaking
Never interrupting a customer in the middle of an exchange is an excellent way to show that you care about what they have to say. This may sound obvious, but it will go a long way toward expressing empathy for the customer’s situation. Even if you know what the other person is going to say, be patient, as it may irritate callers.
2. Ask angry customers to tell you the full story
Although it is difficult, try and get an angry caller to share more information. Inquire about the specifics and listen carefully. Engage with the narrative on a deeper level. A grievance is usually the culmination of a number of missteps or misunderstandings. Customers will appreciate that you care about them and their predicament if you ask to see the big picture.
3. Take time to formulate positive statements
It is important to be concise, but sometimes, brevity comes off as impatience. When dealing with customers, callers shouldn’t make statements like “We’ll only get your product in a month.” You can instead say, “I have ordered your item, and it will be ready in thirty days, but I will try to make it a priority delivery.”
4. Build your EQ
Emotional intelligence or EI/EQ is an emotion and behavior-regulating technique. You start understanding how addictive and prevalent emotions like frustration, rage, and resentment are. The more you witness these feelings in action, the more infectious they get. However, patience acts as a bulwark against succumbing to these emotions – so you can prevent complex interactions from spiraling out of control.
5. Objectively consider your discomfort thresholds
Impatience is usually a reaction to a sense of discomfort. So, change the way you think about stress and discontent. Customer service conditions may be trying, but remember that “this is just unsettling, not unbearable.”
6. Resist the urge to participate in conflict
It’s been said that even if you really won that dispute, you still lost – at some level, and call center agents can attest to the truth of that statement. An irate or disgruntled customer is likely to be rigid in their opinions and choices. Do everything you can to help them right then and there. You will be able to resolve the problem once the customer has cooled down and is ready to look at solutions.
When you are in an interaction that tests your patience, here is a useful, four-step cycle to follow:
- Take a deep breath: Focus and creativity are both enhanced by daily breathing exercises.
- Concentrate: Focus only on the requirements of the caller, and not on the ways in which they express those needs.
- Listen, actively: Wait until the customer has finished telling you everything before you come up with a plan of action.
- Offer a resolution: When you take the time to slow down, focus, and listen, you’ll be in a much better position to help others.
Ultimately, staying patient is not just good for the customer and for business. It enables a healthier work environment for call center agents and reduces the stress and burnout arising from conflict.