Apello acts as a property management answering service for a number of different commercial and residential management companies. We can tell you from experience that property management companies get their share of angry calls. Justified or not, angry callers expect results. For the company representative on the other side of the line, proceeding is a delicate matter.
We take the position that customer service reps should not just deal with angry callers. They should safely manage both the callers and their situations. By ‘safely’, we mean in a way that leads to an acceptable resolution and a happy customer. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
We provide property management answering services with an emphasis on managing potentially unpleasant call scenarios. To keep conversations manageable, we employ some proven strategies:
1. Remaining Calm and Professional
There is always the temptation to answer an angry person in kind. No one likes to be barked at; no one likes to be accused of things; no one likes to be the recipient of complaints over things outside of one’s control. So when an angry caller makes it through, it’s easy to allow emotions to run high.
We encourage call center personnel to always remain calm and professional. Maintaining a calm attitude keeps emotions in check. Maintaining professionalism keeps the conversation from descending into an argument.
2. Listening for As Long As It Takes
It has been our experience that some angry callers just need time and space to vent. They are not necessarily lashing out at call center personnel or even the property management company itself. They are just upset by a particular problem and need to blow off some steam. Let them.
Giving angry callers the time and space to talk can go a long way toward a successful resolution. Let callers talk for as long as it takes them to get it all out. Once they do, they will feel better. Then you can have a productive discussion about how to resolve the problem at hand.
3. Answering Their Concerns Directly
The previous point about letting angry callers talk includes actually listening to what they have to say. Be attentive to every word. Pay attention to every point. When it is your turn to talk, answer their concerns directly. Be upfront, honest, and transparent. And above all, never assume anything. If you are ever unsure about a particular point, ask questions. Make the effort to understand the caller’s position before you try to offer a resolution.
4. Avoiding Putting Callers on Hold
Providing property management answering services has given us plenty of opportunity to learn what angry callers dislike the most. Among their biggest dislikes is being put on hold. To an angry caller, being put on hold is the equivalent of being told that their concerns do not matter. Callers find it insulting and degrading. Therefore, avoid putting angry callers on hold whenever possible.
It is better for call center personnel to continue engaging with angry callers while they look things up in their computer systems. It’s better for supervisors to come to their operators to resolve problems, rather than requiring operators to go to them. Granted, sometimes putting a caller on hold is unavoidable. When it can be avoided, it should be.
Safely managing angry callers leads to better results. It is something we know from personal experience. If you are interested in learning more about how we do it with our property management answering service, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to answer all your questions and provide a no-obligation quote.