How to Get a Talkative Customer to Cut to the Chase

Stressful day at work

Research shows the average business call lasts two minutes longer than it needs to. The bitter truth is most of us spend far too much time on the phone with customers and co-workers in idle small talk or listening to the whiner, rambler, or storyteller.

So how do you politely end a call when you know it’s no longer productive?  I’ll give you six of my favorite strategies for graciously bringing a long-winded caller back to focus.

One. Apprise of a time limit early

This doesn’t mean you state that you only have a couple of minutes.  It’s the reverse of that, and it works like this:  “I don’t want to take up too much of your time.” Or “I’ve taken up enough of your time” (even when they’ve called you.) “I’m sure you’re busy, so I’ll make this quick.” “One final thing I need to cover...”

Statements like these setup time parameters for you and help you end the call quickly and politely.

Two. Interject with a question when the caller pauses

This is something you’ll do with the long-winded caller, the rambler, and the storyteller. As they are going on and on, wait for a pause and interject: with a statement like…

  •  “The first thing we need to do is…”
  • “The reason I’m calling is …” 
  • “Listen, I need to get some information from you.”
  • “Real quick, I just need a couple of numbers from you…”

Three. Use the point question technique

Here’s a 10-Second Exercise to Help Your Employees Listen Better

Please read the following.   Aoccdrnig to a rsceearcehr at Cmabridge Uivervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer […]

How to Craft Friendly Emails That WOW Customers

How to Craft Friendly Emails That WOW Customers 10 Tips to Take Your Emails to the Next Level!  You’re in for a treat, because today I have for you a unique email session with the […]

7 Questions About How to Handle Difficult Customers with Myra Golden

These questions are from a live audience at a training Myra recently delivered in New York.   1. How do you handle the customer who immediately demands to speak to a supervisor or manager without […]

How to Handle a Complaint Over Email -7 Simple Steps

Every email that goes out from your customer service team has your company’s brand in the signature line, it puts your corporate reputation on the line, and at the fingertips of a disgruntled customer, your […]

Tweeting for Customer Service

  More and more companies are discovering that Twitter can be a powerful tool for capturing the voice of the customer –and responding to that voice with immediacy. Twitter is a free social networking and […]

Preventing Burnout in Call Center Agents & 9 Ways to Motivate Agents

There are two things people want more than sex and money…recognition and praise. Mary Kay Ash Mary Kay is right, as studies indicate that employees find personal recognition more motivational than money. A work climate […]