Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Angry Caller

A co-worker the other day, about 3 hours into her shift commented that so far she had been told she was stupid, that she needed to go back to school, and was hung up on twice. I have felt her frustration many times, but I could not help but wonder what her approach was.
Granted, we have all dealt with those kinds of callers, and I have had my share of them, but at least 95 percent of the time, the call starts that way and ends with the caller thanking you for your help if you chose your words carefully.
The first thing to remember is...deep breath. The caller does not know you at all, and they are not mad at you. They could be frustrated with chronic illness, the medical system, the pharmacy or their physician. You just happen to be the cat to kick out of the way at the moment.
The second step is close your mouth and listen...really listen. Acknowledge their frustrations and feelings. Tell them you hear their frustration and concerns and would love to help them, and do, if you can. If you cannot, give them a logical explanation why, and instruct them instead on what they need to do to solve their problem.
Lastly, thank them for calling, even if you were not able to solve their concerns. Reassure them that you are there to help, and encourage them to call again if further questions or concerns arise.
Many times the caller knows you may not be able to fix their issue, and they just want to know there is a friendly voice on the other end of the phone that they can talk to night or day. Remember, what you say to them in that conversation can make a lasting impression, and word travels back to their physician's office of what kind of impression that was.