Question: How can we learn from calls that go badly?

Answers from frontline reps —


Adopt a learning attitude. Every mistake, or potential failure, can be reframed into a learning opportunity. I ask myself three questions:

  • What can I control? The answer is always “myself.” You cannot control the actions or thoughts of others. You can only regulate yourself. You cannot control the actions of others and only collaborate towards a solution.
  • What are my options? We all have two choices. In a bad call scenario, the options could be “let it affect me negatively” or “learn a lesson to apply to the future.”
  • What is the worst-case scenario? If you prepare yourself for this situation, most likely, the ultimate outcome will not be as horrible as you imagined.

By taking a balanced and methodical approach to the situation, you take your emotions – which may have contributed to the bad call in the first place – out of the equation

Megann Wither, Navy Federal Credit Union


Don’t take it personally. The first thing that everyone needs to learn after a bad call is that there will be another bad call someday. However, there will be (we hope) more good calls than bad. There will always be that customer that can’t be satisfied. No matter what you offer to do, it will never be enough. You just have to learn not to take it personally, or at the very least, too personally.

After the call is done, you need to shake it off so that it doesn’t taint the rest of your day, or calls. If you let it, it can and will do so. So take a deep breath, shake it off, take a quick break if possible, and get back in there and service the customers that will call.

When you have a customer that is upset, don’t assume that they are upset at you. You just happen to be their sounding board. So you must learn to not get defensive in these kind of situations.

Jo Sprowl, SKF USA Inc.


Take ownership. You should never feel alone about not handling a call as correctly as you should have. We have all been there during our careers within a call center. When these types of calls happen, don’t let them take over your entire day. Take ownership of what happened during the call. If you start the blame game of why this or that happened, you don’t learn from the experience. Let yourself process what happened and take note of the things you know you did badly. At times, we don’t always know just exactly how the call took a turn for the worse. Look to a mentor or a supervisor that you can talk through the scenario with to get insight from an outside perspective.

Rachel Dillon, Assurant Specialty Property


The gem is in the details. First, don’t feel defeated. You have to understand that, as much as we try, we can’t please everyone all the time. This rule is very important in a high call volume environment. It’s not fair to your next member for you to bring the emotions from your last call into their situation. Second, you have to take ownership of the call. I always asked myself the same question after every bad call: What could I have done differently on this call? In my opinion, when you don’t place the blame of the call’s outcome on the caller, but rather look for ways you contributed to the call’s outcome, it tends to highlight opportunities within the call where you could have done things differently.

Jerrard Gates, Navy Federal Credit Union


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