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How Does Customer Experience Impact Angry Customers? - Blue Ocean Contact Centers - Blog

How Does Customer Experience Impact Angry Customers?

We don’t want to ruin your good mood, but humor us for a moment and think back to a time when a company made you angry. Specifically, remember that moment you contacted customer service because of some error, mishap, or malfunction, only to hang up the phone feeling even more irritated. Perhaps you were on hold for too long; maybe you were transferred ten times before getting an answer; or maybe your support agent was unhelpful and insincere. If you resolved to never do business with that company again, we wouldn’t be surprised.

The fact that we can all remember a time this scenario has happened to us is really unfortunate. In our previous blog post, we took a look at customer mapping – we’re building on that in this post and asking how does the experience of the angry customer inform your strategy. How can companies transform frustrated customers into delighted ones? What can they do to win you back?

Where Customer-Centric Support Begins

It’s a no-brainer really; customer-centric support begins with the customer. We shouldn’t even have to say it, except that we know from experience this is far from the norm. For us, this begins with understanding customer sentiment before the call (or chat or social media engagement, etc.) even starts and then identifying the pivot points in contact management that can take the customer toward the positive or deeper into the negative.

When a customer is voicing their grievances, it’s the perfect time for an agent to pay attention to their tone and get a sense of their personality. Not all angry customers are alike. Some will throw tantrums, while others will seem perfectly polite and restrained. Training agents to recognize the many forms anger can take and most importantly, training them to listen for the cues is part of our foundational training for all agents. One of our core philosophies is that anger is a secondary emotion: something else came first – frustration, disappointment, worry, or sometimes even just plain old exhaustion. If our agents can respond to the underlying emotion, they can usually diffuse the secondary emotion. In other words, the first pivot comes from acknowledging the customer’s primary emotion – or failing to acknowledge it.

Angry Customers Are Human Too

Personalizing your response to an angry customer is vital, and it starts with a few common elements. Standard tactics like using the customer’s name and confirming that you’ve understood the problem are good places to start. However, the meat of the best customer experience strategy is empathy. The customer needs to know that the faceless person on the other end of the phone actually cares about their problem.

The challenge is that scripted empathy is not real empathy. And guess what, your customer can spot a canned response from a mile away. True empathy comes when you empower your contact center agents to step outside of the workflow process when necessary to make the best possible decision for each individual customer.  This is your next pivot point – does your agent get bogged down in process, in reciting a script, and in trying to force a one-size fits all solution on your angry customer? Or do they pivot toward decision-making that is personalized for the angry customer?

In your strategy mapping, this begins with the launch phase of your program when you have the chance to customize the hiring profile of your agents to match the most common call drivers of the brand they’re representing. If delivery failures or product returns are top call drivers, you’ll be looking for people who can shake off the emotional impact of dealing regularly with angry customers and who also have a natural ability to empathize. Empathy depends upon specific soft skills and attitudes. Skip those key elements, and you’re looking at a potentially creating customers who dread calling customer support. Regular training to ensure your agents stay true to the brand is important too; the more they understand the values and goals of the company they’re supporting, the more likely their apologies on behalf of that company will sound sincere.

Turning Anger into Delight

Listening and empathizing are the first critical steps, but you have to follow up with a resolution to really make a difference.

In other words, this is not the time to transfer your customer to another agent who may be better equipped to resolve the situation. If your frontline agents are unable to deliver first call resolution on the majority of calls, you need to revisit your processes and ask yourself why. It doesn’t matter whether your resolution looks like a replacement, return, reimbursement, or simply a real answer; solving the customer’s problem quickly and easily is a key ingredient for turning anger into delight. Here, the pivot points are how your agent deals with urgency and overcoming barriers. Do they pivot to the positive by removing barriers to resolution and acting with urgency to solve the problem? Or do they pivot to the negative and take your customer down a rabbit hole of transfers and delays? Do they even have the authority to get to the resolution?

Pivot to the positive and an angry customer who experiences this shift from frustration to satisfaction will often be even more loyal to your brand than your typical customer. And they’re much more likely to independently promote your brand if they know you truly care about them.

Furthermore, every disgruntled caller is an opportunity to leverage customer feedback and discover hidden flaws, broken processes, and areas for improvement.

How Does Customer Experience Impact Angry Customers?

In short, anger is a lightening rod that can sour the customer experience quickly if you haven’t identified the pivot points to move from a negative experience to a positive experience. It is critical when you are mapping your customer experience that you begin by recognizing that for angry customers, you are not starting at a neutral point. The experience has to overcome the negative before it can get to neutral. A strong customer-centric strategy that delivers an experience founded on listening and empathy; and delivering on fast, efficient, effortless resolutions can make an angry customer into an advocate. When you’re mapping out your customer experience,

It can take guts to admit that the occasional angry customer is inevitable. But doing so allows you to prepare your customer experience strategy to more effectively handle dissatisfied callers.

Ready to wow even your crankiest of customers? We’d love to help. Click here for our Pricing Request Form and let us know how we can lend a hand.


Publish Date: October 31, 2016 5:00 AM

2020 Buyers Guide Speech Technology


Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
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Call Center Studio

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Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
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Call Tracking Metrics

Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.

Our intelligent word detection and transcription tools make it easier for you to decipher the content of your customer conversations and automate action based on those insights.

Transform the audio of your calls into speaker-organized scripts so you can easily search your call log for specific words from a conversation, or automatically detect when words of intent are spoken by your customer.

Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.
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Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
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Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.

Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.
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MattsenKumar LLC

SmartSpeech – The Best In Class Speech Analytics Software

An all-inclusive speech analytics application that enables you to visualize your audio using state-of-the-art speech recognition, transcription, and text analytics technologies.
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Voci Technologies Incorporated

V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.

- Transcribe large volumes of recorded audio quickly
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Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.

- Custom Charts and Dashboards give you the freedom to analyze calls from the highest level down to the details of each conversation.

- AI-Powered Speech Analytics transcribes, searches, and analyzes your reps' phone conversations, at scale.

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- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

All of these together provide the holistic, easy-to-use software that you need to manage a modern call team and create better con...
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