We’ve all been there.
It’s the middle of dinner, and your wife has prepared quite the savory spread, when all of a sudden – without warning – the phone starts reverberating off the hook. Maybe it has happened to you during the last play of the big game. You know, the game when the home team is down by one touchdown but is gloriously driving down the field, when all of a sudden…RING! RING! RING! Whatever the case, whatever the scenario, unless you are living under a rock and do not have any type of telephone, we have all been interrupted by a phone call at one point or another.
While I am an Internet Conversational Marketing Expert (iCME) for Incept, I am still (at my very foundation) a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME). Do not assume that is just another fancy name for a phone rep either. Conversational Marketing Experts are thoroughly trained to be able to handle nearly any type of conversation that can happen with a blood donor over the phone. Whether that be someone who doesn’t know if they can donate blood due to medications, someone who wants to know the difference between a platelet or red cell donation, or even someone who might be somewhat irritated due to getting a phone call from us, in every call we make, it is all about strengthening the relationship with the donor, even if that call does not end in an appointment.
"Why are you calling me right now?!"
The following information can be used by anyone that works in the customer service field and deals directly with people over the phone, not just Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs), so pay attention!
- It is not personal.
It is absolutely too easy to fall into a negative mindset after handling a phone call with a person who is annoyed from being called too much. Sometimes it is almost like they were waiting for you to call to tell you that you call too much! Understand, though, usually when a person immediately starts going off it is nothing personal. Maybe that person had a bad day at work or maybe something else is going on in their life and you happened to catch them at that one moment where they were boiling over. Whatever the case might be, go into it with that understanding. They don’t know what you look like or what type of person you are; usually they are frustrated with something or someone else.
- Empathize with them.
Did you ever have something bad happen to you and you went to tell someone about it and they agreed that you had been wronged? Did it make you feel a little better to know that someone else saw the situation you were going through in the same light? A very helpful and useful approach todealing with an upset customer or donor over the phone is simply agree with them, and verbalize it. If you encounter someone who is upset over receiving too many phone calls and comes at you with, “You people call way too much! I’m trying to put my kids to sleep! What do you want?!” be the one to rebuttal with kindness and understanding. “I apologize. I can definitely understand that this is an inconvenient time with you being busy with your kids. I understand that, and I apologize once again. I will make a note to try you again at a more convenient time. Have a great night.” It is amazing how effective immediately empathizing and apologizing for calling can turn someones mood around! You can almost hear the tone in their voice change, and most will even tell you that they understand it’s your job to make calls and not your fault. Why? Because you were levelheaded and you understood why they were initially upset. Better yet, you countered with kindness and definitely strengthened the relationship. More often than not, they will even agree with you when you tell them you are going to try at a later time.
- Put me on the Do Not Call list!
Sometimes when empathy doesn’t seem to work and you get someone who is really angry at that moment about getting a call, you will get the occasional request to be put on the national Do Not Call list. No matter what, this is a very serious request and one that should be granted immediately. Trying to retain their phone number, while disregarding their request can leave a bad taste in their mouth, and that can ultimately result in being the final straw in the relationship between you and your client or donor. Remember, it is all about strengthening the relationship with your customers, even if that means having to put their number on the Do Not Call list.
This information works in many different types of customer service situations as well, not just for Incept alone. So do not hesitate to use it!
On that note, what are some ways you diffuse someone who is upset, annoyed or irritated?
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