Working in a call centre environment can be stressful at times and may present situations that are frustrating and difficult to deal with. However the work can be diverse and rewarding as long as you learn to handle the pressures effectively. Here are some work based tips on how to survive life in the call centre.
- Leave work behind at the end of the day – When you’re shift is finished there’s not a lot else you can do so learn to leave the stresses of the day at the office door. Start each brand new day with a blank canvass and start each subsequent call like it’s the first call of the day.
- Kill nastiness with kindness – You’re bound to get a few difficult customers and the angrier they get the nicer you should be. The more you can control yourself and channel your inner professionalism the easier it will be to diffuse the situation. The likelihood is that once they’ve sounded off at you they’ll calm down and you’ll still be calm enough to deal with the situation from there. Display some empathy with the caller and more than likely you’ll end up with an apology and the result you wanted.
- Let insults wash over you – You might get called all the names under the sun by your customers but just remember that they’re talking to the company not you personally. Keep in mind that you don’t know the customer and they don’t know you. Again, keeping calm and remaining professional will help to diffuse the situation far easier than getting upset or losing your cool.
- Don’t enter into chit-chat – There will be those people who are glad to hear from you and sense the opportunity to put the world to rights with a willing participant. Attempting to be chatty and bring the conversation back to its point can be stressful so try to remain focused in the job in hand and don’t allow calls to wander. You may feel sorry for the person at the other end of the line, particularly if it’s an elderly person, but it’s likely that you have a time limit to adhere to and a job to do.
- Find time for a laugh – As long as it doesn’t go too far and spill over into the call, having a little fun in the office can be a great help. A smile in your voice will transmit across the phone line and be evident to the recipient of your call. One thing you could do is to choose a harmless buzz word for each day that you attempt to include in conversations, this can be good fun and help to get you through the day.
- Patience! Count to ten – Not everyone may have the information to hand that you need them to have. Even if they do have what you need in front of them there’s no guarantee that they understand what you need from them. Retaining your patience will help to get to a resolution far quicker than if you let you understandable frustrations take over the situation. The job is likely to involve talking to all kinds of people across the generational landscape, be prepared for every eventually and remember that patience is a virtue.
- Mirror your caller – You can try to build up rapport with the person at the other end of the phone by mirroring their speaking style. This doesn’t mean that you should try to affect their accent but more to mirror if they are fast talkers or more measured. You’ll have to have the ability to make like a chameleon and change your approach in line with the person you’re addressing.
- Keep it real – It’s always good to humanise the situation if you can. You’ll give the impression that you’re listening and are tailoring the call to them. You’ll have to manage the situation so that it doesn’t drift away too far, but a small degree of familiarity will help.
- Know your onions – Knowing your subject and having the bases covered for potential questions will help the call progress more smoothly and quickly. You’ll also inspire more confidence if you can confidently discuss whatever queries may come up. Knowing something about your competitors will help too and give the impression of someone who can really see the big picture.
Many of these tips are probably nothing more than basic common sense but it can be easy to forget them if you’re in a pressure situation. The more you practice some of the techniques that assist you in your job the more likely they are to become second nature. And, don’t just take our advice, develop some tricks of the trade of your own and find the best ways to make the job a more rewarding and enjoyable experience for both you and your customers.