Behind the Curtain: What Happens after a Difficult Call?

Sometimes you get off the phone and think, wow, that person I just spoke to was fantastic! Other times you may have the exact opposite response – they were terrible. So what happens in the call center when there is a difficult call that needs reviewed?


One of the immediate approaches we take is coaching – informally or otherwise. You may be surprised to know when there is a bad call typically the call center is quickly aware. Agents often share when they have had a hard time and our quality auditors are always on alert for learning opportunities. Supervisors are very in-tune with their teams and can tell when a team member is struggling. Oftentimes those same supervisors started on the phones themselves and they intimately know the agent’s role.


Working together to learn from call experiences is crucial.

Sometimes it just takes a minute to revisit the call with the agent and give them tips on how to better problem solve or explain a situation or ‘how to deliver bad news.’ It’s important to take a moment and review the experience to see what could have been improved. Sometimes it may involve making dedicated time to listen to the call, review it and discuss how it went. It’s true that you should not take bad calls personally, but realistically it’s hard. We can’t just tell our team members to ‘do better’ without partnering in helping them see how they can learn and improve to be better. We want the agents to be listed among the kudos calls we publish in our monthly newsletter, or maybe even be in that viral article about excellent customer service you read about on your phone when waiting at your doctor’s appointment.


When we train, we tell new agents being in a call center is a two-way street – we will give you all the training we have but let us know if you need help and we will make it happen. You can’t train to every call or personality type and it’s a fluid environment. Remember that callers are human and so are you. Kindness goes a long way and learning how to improve will make an agent ensure they are that fantastic person you just spoke to on the phone.


What do you think? What works best for you when trying to help develop an employee?