Category: De-escalation

Three Ways To Fix the Escalation Problem

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Escalated calls are frustrating for everybody – the employee who knows she could’ve done the exact same thing the supervisor did, the supervisor whose hair is on fire, and for the customer who has lost time. It’s time to fix the escalation problem. Here are three ways you can prepare your employees to de-escalate so you can take a little stress out of everybody’s life.

1. See How Much It Costs You To Resolve Most Customer Issues

3 Steps to Reducing Stress and Escalations With Customer Service Teams

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Back in my call center days, I paid a consultant a wad to tell me to, “Give your employees time after each call to debrief with their co-workers, and create a culture where they can turn to each other for advice and guidance for how to navigate a tough call.” Here are the top three things my consultant advised me to do immediately to achieve the goals she set for me.

1. Create a spider web type layout where all of your employees can see and interact with one another at once.

2. Encourage employees to place callers on hold while they seek advice from the team on how to manage tough situations.

3. Build in time after calls for employees to cool-down after a particularly grilling interaction, and to talk the situation through with colleagues.

I took the consultant’s advice, and here’s what happened.

The 3-Prong Method To Get Customers Who Think They Need a Manager To Calm Down and Let You Help Them

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Let’s say have a customer who right out of the gate demands to talk to a supervisor. You can take the three easy steps I teach in my workshops to keep some customers from escalating.

1. Recognize/Acknowledge

When a customer immediately asks to speak to a supervisor, not wanting to give you a chance to assist, you can Recognize emotions like this.

“I can certainly understand why you’d want to speak to my manager. I want to get to the bottom of this just as much as you do.”

By saying this, or something similar, you acknowledge the customer’s perceived need to talk to someone else.

2. Reframe

The First Step to De-escalating Is to Recognize The Customer’s Emotional Reaction

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Let me ask you something. If you’re pissed off at your partner, and you’re yelling,
maybe even cursing, and in response they say…
nothing.
How do you react?

Do you calm down?
Or does their silence make you more intense?

Me? I talk more. Louder. My attitude gets fierce.
What I don’t do is back down or tranquilize.

Turns out, if you give your customers the silent treatment when they’re going off on you, they can get fierce, too.

Here’s why.