7 tips on how to handle an irate caller [VIDEO]

August 19, 2013
Misty Absher Clark
Misty Absher Clark
Misty Absher Clark

Misty Absher Clark is Vice President of Creative Services for Jameson Management, an international dental management, marketing, and hygiene coaching firm. Incorporating her expertise in branding, marketing strategy, social media, and customer service, Misty brings energy and information to dental practices nationwide. For more information on Misty, her webinars or Jameson services, log on to www.jamesonmanagement.com or call (877) 369-5558.

Issue 8

Telephone skills are critical to establishing and maintaining excellent relationships with patients. But sometimes that's not easy! From time to time an angry, or irate, patient calls testing all of your telephone skills, your people skills, and your patience.

Telephone skills are critical to establishing and maintaining excellent relationships with patients. But sometimes that's not easy! From time to time an angry, or irate, patient calls testing all of your telephone skills, your people skills, and your patience.

How do you effectively deal with an irate person when they call you on the phone? Here are seven tips.

 

1. Hear the person out. Don't interrupt with questions, or comebacks or defensive responses. Passively listen. That means, encourage them to "go on," to "spill their guts,” to "get it all out.”

2. Actively listen. The single most effective skill you can use to defuse anger and is to listen to them. Encourage a person to tell you about their concern. Reflect back to the person what you think you hear them saying. This will give you the opportunity to clarify and let them know you are trying to understand.

3. Do not argue with the person. This will only add fuel to the fire. Your defensiveness will add to their defensiveness. The emotionality of the conversation will become so intense that the possibility of moving into a solution may be nullified.

4. Control your urge to become angry. A person can't stay angry with you if you remain calm. Your calmness will let them know that you respect them, that you re concerned about their problem, and that you want to hear all about the problem so you can do something about it.

5. Ask the caller to repeat their concerns so that you can write them down. For example "Mr. Johnson, would you please repeat your concerns for me. I am going to write these down so that I can see if I can help you and so that I can make sure I accurately inform the dentist of your concerns."

6. Once you have recorded the necessary information, repeat it to him to determine your correct interpretation.

7. Let them know that you understand their concerns and that you will do your best to find appropriate answers. Tell them you will get back to them and then do so.

A side benefit to this process is that you will not be so stressed out. If you become angry, your blood pressure will rise, your pulse will increase - stress will negatively affect your day and your performance. However, if you choose to be the one in control, you will encourage a calmer patient and you will control your own stress.

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