Fielding highly-charged energy over the phone.

anger communication frustration helpdesk phone support Aug 21, 2019

Someone is calling the help desk. If that person is like me, they’ve already spent way too much of their time trying to figure out the problem and nothing seems to work. They’re frustrated, tired, and out of resources. You’re their last line of defense. You’re their only hope. If you can’t fix the problem, all is lost.

That’s a lot of pressure for the help desk person. Especially since the person on the phone is in an emotional state that makes it difficult to communicate. The first thing you say will set the tone of the conversation. How you say what you say is the most important piece of your communication right now. This means the tone you use, how loudly you speak, how you use inflection, communicate confidence, and how clearly your voice is perceived will all impact the callers impression and ability to articulate and think through the issue they’re facing so that you can help them resolve it.

Introduce: What to say first. An introduction is always helpful. It communicates respect and confidence when the caller knows who is helping them. Use a calm, confident tone to put them at ease right away. Find out who they are and write down their name so that you can address them appropriately.

Gather: Gather information. When someone is in a heightened emotional state, they use words to describe their frustration instead of describing the issue. Listen for the facts, then repeat back what you’ve heard them say to verify that you’ve understood correctly.

Explain: Once you’re confident that you have understood the issue, explain clearly what you’re going to do to fix it. Use a calm, confident tone that is at an appropriate volume to be heard clearly. This will put the caller at ease. Make sure to let your caller know when they can expect the issue to be fixed. Try to be as realistic as possible, even if it means they have to wait for some time. 

Thank: Thank the caller. Once you have completed the task and the issue is resolved, thank the person for their patience and understanding. This communicates respect and instills confidence in your ability to help them with their technical issues.

Although not all help desk tickets are resolved immediately, using a simple formula like Introduce, Gather, Explain, and Thank to effectively manage highly-charged energy over the phone will put the caller at ease and increase your star power.

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