Keep Your Cool on the Phone – Part 1

kx-t7731b_left This is part 1 of a 2 part guest writer post on keeping your cool on the phone. It’s written by Jennifer Harris from Ruby Receptionists.

What do you do when you work primarily on phones and have an irate caller on the line? The easy thing would be to match their annoyance level. Get angry right back, and throw some well places obscenities in for good measure… right? Well, sure, if you want to lose your job. I work for a virtual reception company and all day long we talk to people over the phone. We get happy callers, angry callers, callers with crazy stories, and callers who did not dial correctly. The happy callers are easy; they call in ready to be pleased. The angry callers, not so much.

A receptionist is able to tell right away who the difficult caller will be. They are the ones who, rather than saying, “Hello, may I please speak to Joe Bloggs,” say, “JOE STILL HASN’T RETURNED MY CALL! ARE YOU EVEN DOING YOUR JOB?” The inexperienced receptionist will get flustered in this situation. He or she will make excuses and often end up sounding worse than if they had just yelled back. The bad receptionist will actually yell back. In a situation like this, it is best not to match the tone of the caller. Instead, as one seasoned receptionist told me, “I put on my preschool manners basically. By lowering my voice they have to really listen to hear me and they usually end up matching my tone.” When someone is about to blow their top, she demonstrates the behavior she would like to see from the caller. She speaks calmly and brings them down to her level of calm.

(more about handling angry callers on Wednesday)

Jennifer Harris works as the sales coordinator for Ruby Receptionists, before which she worked as a receptionist for 5 years, learning all the ins and outs of phone etiquette.

3 Responses to “Keep Your Cool on the Phone – Part 1”

  1. Wes Grasty said:

    Dec 17, 07 at 8:33 am

    Great advice! Kill them with kindness seems to work as well.

  2. Service Untitled » Keep Your Cool on the Phone - Part 2 - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 19, 07 at 7:58 am

    […] This is part two (part one is here) of the guest post written by Jennifer Harris from Ruby Receptionists. […]

  3. Service Untitled» Blog Archive » The Angriest Customers said:

    Feb 27, 09 at 12:41 am

    […] in December 2007, I featured a two part guest post from Jennifer Harris, an employee at Ruby Receptionists. Her (great) advice is as […]