Phone De-Escalation training, workshops and techniques for staff, workers, employees, customers and businesses


Phone De-Escalation classes & Occupational Violence & Aggression Training is important for the safety and wellbeing of staff, employees and customers.

It can be very difficult and stressful for staff when handling an angry call from a person or customer, it is so important to train staff and employees, volunteers in phone de-escalation skills workshops.


✅  We provide De-escalation Training & OVA Training in Brisbane, Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Adelaide.

De-escalation & OVA Training is designed to teach you how to handle an aggressive interaction within the workplace whether it be over the phone or in person with an angry customer.

AGKK Phone De-escalation training that is custom-made to help protect your staff, business or organisation. Training staff with practical phone de-escalation skills and solutions for occupational violence and aggression.
AGKK Phone De-escalation training that is custom-made to help protect your staff, business or organisation. Training staff with practical phone de-escalation skills and solutions for occupational violence and aggression.


Secure and fast track your specific training requirements

Directly on ☎ 0409474494 or use this Inquiry Online Booking Form



We conduct training throughout Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Queensland and Australia.

Man on phone icon

At AGKK de-escalation and violence prevention training we equip, empower and educate staff with the phone communication skills and tools to manage challenging customer interactions while on the phone, in person and we deliver quality service and training.

Staff on Phone Icon

As organisations become more service-positioned and customer-oriented, the need for staff in any capacity to be able to execute quality customer service becomes paramount. We provide strategies and communication skills to aid in reducing stress and improving the wellbeing of staff and employees. These workshops and training focuses on building capability to manage difficult customers on the phone, de-escalation techniques, risk identification and management practices when working in challenging or hostile, angry customer service and assistance situations.


The workshop is structured to introduce participants to the key concepts of communication, behaviours and expectations before building into practical role playing demonstration sessions. These focused, practical sessions explore both verbal and non-verbal communications, anticipating typical problems, and how to manage and reduce stress in the workplace. Throughout the workshops the emphasis is on personal safety and equitable treatment, with skills practise scenarios to increase confidence, skills, mechanisms and preparedness to manage customers and clients in crisis. The phone de-escalation training is proactive, very practical and reinforces key steps and concepts for success.


Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identifying and  defining good customer service
  • Being able to understand customers and their dynamic needs
  • Expand both verbal and non-verbal proactive communication
  • Identify challenging behaviour while anticipating possible risks, causes, triggers and providing solutions 
  • Assess risk levels and patterns of conflict escalation
  • Prepare strategies, solutions which diffuse and de-escalate difficult and aggressive behaviours from customers 
  • Understand the human behaviour and response to conflict and danger
  • Prioritize self-protection, resilience and wellness for staff and employees 

Advanced bookings recommended

To inquire about the diverse range of training services available you are most welcome to call us today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.

Investment: To be discussed based on your needs and training requirements. We offer in-person De-escalating, Occupational prevention techniques Courses, programs, and workshops run by expert trainers to organisations across Australia. Our programs and training are available throughout Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Queensland and Australia.

Give us a call today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.


Ensure your workplace remains a safe, equitable environment while improving the quality of customer interactions through these focused and practical workshops.

Woman speaking on headset

Effective telephone communication skills from staff result in more productive relationships that lead to better customer service and perhaps increased sales. 

Whenever you’re handling clients over the phone, remain positive and do all that you can to satisfy them. Empathize with them when necessary and be personable.

Customers will certainly recognize when they’re being treated with courteousness, care, and consideration, which will translate to repeat business.

What is phone de-escalation training for staff and why is it so important for your business and your employees?

The phone de-escalation training and workshops protects both customers and staff. At AGKK we teach strategies that are crucial to help staff deal with an angry caller and to know what steps to take with such a customer.

It helps your staff to know how to respond in each scenario and know when the time is right to possibly cut them off. With the aggressive de-escalation training staff need phone de-escalation skills that clearly identifies and draws the line between anger and abuse. For example, a customer saying they are frustrated is different from a customer swearing and name-calling.

In our phone de-escalation training and workshops we train staff on how to handle these kinds of phone calls. Agents, staff or employees should never accept any derogative or discriminative terms. Or any threats of violence.

At AGKK we are specialists in Occupational Phone De-Escalation training, workshops and Techniques for customer phone call staff, agents, on how to proactively respond to angry or rude customers over the phone and providing Better Customer Service. 

🔴 Do your staff have to deal with; aggressive and difficult clients or customers while on the phone or at the workplace? 

We provide training for staff and businesses with ways to De-escalate and Handle an Angry Phone Call Using Good Customer Service

We can present and deliver workshops at your workplace.

🎯 Experienced, proven performance delivery and training in de-escalation and Occupational Violence Aggression prevention training for staff while they are on the phone.🎯 The training will be specific to the working environment for staff, volunteers and employees. 
🎯 De-escalation workshops, training and courses are educational and practical. 
🎯 Delivery of training is realistic, concise, enjoyable and interactive, with role playing workplace scenarios.

We provide effective, practical and easily understood, preventative strategies in providing the best training to aid in employees keeping themselves safe from both verbal and physical aggression.

Staff taking calls

Target Audience:
Frontline employees, staff, managers and volunteers facing aggression, conflict while taking phone calls from aggressive or rude customers.

This course and training is available as a full-day, a half-day or two hour course workshops.

This can be delivered both in-person, at your organisation or venue.

Group Size:
We recommend a group size usually of 4-40 participants at a time.

Numbers can be fine-tuned and confirmed with your desired needs and outcomes for your staff and business.

Advanced bookings recommended
To inquire about the diverse range of training services available you are most welcome to call us today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.
5-Star Review

Phone De-escalation Testimonial 

 “I really enjoyed the phone de-escalation training with strategies on how to handle difficult and aggressive customers over the phone. Bernie was informative and provided a structured, logical approach that has helped me and other staff to diffuse and deal with very rude and difficult customers over the phone. I have definitely feel more at ease got a lot out of the phone de-escalation training. I highly recommend using Bernie, as a highly experienced educator and excellent communicator in the training of employees with phone de-escalation training of staff.

The training in the workshops and tips that were given on effective and the Practical phone De-escalation Skills training for staff and employees have increased my confidence and I have already started using the strategies. I feel more comfortable and self-assured with my skills in de-escalating customers and clients on the phone now and in the future.”

Steven O’Grady Telstra Communications, Sydney.

Phone De-escalation Workshops and training of staff with dealing with angry customers over the phone.

We provide training of staff and employees with strategies and solutions how to deal with angry or rude customers over the phone.

De-escalation is a difficult task, but one that any staff member, employee or support agent is going to have to go through over the course of their day to day career. Very often having to deal with angry customers can be quite confronting. Knowing how to de-escalate the situation over the phone or in person, understanding the processes and basic techniques will make the staff members or customer support consultant’s job less stressful.

What Is Phone De-Escalation?

Phone De-escalation training is the education of a pattern of behaviour and communication strategies aimed at calming down the customer, thus reducing the conflict situation. This skill is a must-have in a modern phone or in person customer support world because calming down the customer is the first step on the way to successfully resolving whatever complaint they may have with the services or product. 

Workplace violence and aggression training. AGKK provide workshops and training for businesses, organisations their staff and employees.


Secure and fast track your specific training requirements

Directly on ☎ 0409474494 or use this Inquiry Online Booking Form


AGKK Phone De-escalation training that is custom-made to help protect your staff, business or organisation. Training staff with practical phone de-escalation skills and solutions for occupational violence and aggression.
AGKK Phone De-escalation training that is custom-made to help protect your staff, business or organisation. Training staff with practical phone de-escalation skills and solutions for occupational violence and aggression.


AGKK provides De-escalation staff training also in regard to improving staff skills with Online Chat and Phone De-escalation training.

The phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation, Zoom Meetings de-escalation and email De-escalation training is an engaging and very functional, purposefully built de-escalation skills custom made workshop, course or program designed to equip your staff team with vital skills for handling challenging conversations with aggressive or angry individuals over the phone or through online chat, emails or zoom meetings.

This can include workplace emails, website chat functions, and social media such as Facebook.

Our primary objective is to empower your staff team with confidence and the necessary de-escalation training skills to effectively de-escalate tense situations, fostering an environment where productive and constructive discussions can take place and help enhance staff wellbeing and productivity. 

Staff learn improved de-escalation skills. At the end of the phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation, Zoom Meetings de-escalation and email De-escalation training your staff will have the skillet and confidence to effectively use these de-escalation training techniques.

We can meet your desired de-escalation training outcomes and we will improve staff confidence and enhance employee wellbeing to achieve the best possible outcomes for all people involved.


Secure and fast track your specific de-escalation training requirements

Directly on  0409474494 or use this Inquiry Online Booking Form


Training Outcomes for phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation, Zoom Meetings de-escalation and email De-escalation training

Staff will be able to:

🔴 Be able to recognise the signs of a person becoming agitated over the phone or in Zoom meetings 

🔴 Increase their skillset in improving their awareness and preparation to handle any phone call or online communication

🔴 Staff learn strategies to remain calm, rational and professional to effectively manage threatening and abusive situations phone or online communications

🔴 Strengthen employee ability to identify, analyse and evaluate a phone or online situations, to make more informed and appropriate, emotionally intelligent management informed decisions 

🔴 Enhance staff confidence in using appropriate de-escalation techniques to handle escalating phone calls and online communication

🔴 Staff learn how to control their emotions during an escalating phone call or a online situation 

🔴 Employees practice and effectively learn how to use their voice and tone appropriately to help resolve an issue over the phone or in Zoom meetings 

🔴 Staff enhance their skills to be able to effectively communicate with individuals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol

🔴 Employees will be able to effectively manage and communicate with people who are facing mental health challenges 

This training is conducted in a supportive and safe environment to identify and discuss various situations, increasing staff skills in de-escalation training management understanding of the custom made educational content presented and will improve staff confidence to effectively manage unexpected conflicts on the phone, via online communication or Zoom meetings.

The practical phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation, Zoom Meetings de-escalation and email De-escalation training will be CUSTOM MADE

The training will be specific for your workplace situations and customised through consultations with your key staff members in your organisation well before and planned out before the training commences.

This ensures that your business desired outcomes are identified the needs of your staff workforce are addressed with best practice management solutions throughout the de-escalation training.

Staff wellbeing, safety and confidence will be increased when staff are dealing with difficult phone conversation situations over the phone or online.

Phone De-escalation Training Improves Staff Confidence and Wellbeing.

De-escalation training is extremely worthwhile for all staff who regularly engage in online chat or phone conversations and may encounter challenging communication interactions with heightened or angry individuals. By equipping your staff with this practical, interactive training package, which incorporates proven strategies and techniques, you can effectively safeguard their well-being and ensure their ability to manage such situations confidently, rationally and professionally.

Phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation Training, Zoom Meetings de-escalation Training and email De-escalation training for staff and all employees
Phone De-escalation Training and Online Chat De-escalation Training, Zoom Meetings de-escalation Training and email De-escalation training for staff and all employees


Secure and fast track your specific de-escalation training requirements

Directly on  0409474494 or use this Inquiry Online Booking Form


🔴 Phone De-escalation and OVA Training for call centres and businesses is designed to teach staff and provide solutions in how employees can proactively manage aggressive, challenging interactions with customers, clients or individuals over the phone or in person.

“AGKK de-escalation training for Phone De-escalation training and Online Chat is an practical, interactive and strategy rich workshop, course designed to equip your staff teams with vital skills for handling challenging conversations with heightened individuals over the phone or through online chat. This training can include emails, website chat functions, and social media. Phone de-escalation training empowers your staff and all employees with the necessary skills to effectively de-escalate tense situations, enhancing solutions and positive outcomes.”

What is Workplace violence and aggression? 

Workplace violence and aggression is when a person is abused, threatened or assaulted at the workplace or while they are working.

When staff are spoken to rudely and aggressively by irate customers, it can be hard to be polite and helpful in response. 

The training of staff in phone de-escalation techniques or in person de-escalation strategies is very important.

However, if a call isn’t handled well, there is a high chance that the customer won’t return. If this happens daily, that is a lot of unreturning customers. And a lot of revenue missed out on.

Of course, it can be difficult to push through the negativity. But it is very possible! With the right training and tools, staff can become less stressed and provide better customer service.

Training in how to deescalate an angry phone call leads to more positive outcomes for all including the customer and staff member. This leads to a more productive call, shorter handle times, great customer service, and overall better outcomes and results.

Unfortunately, call centre staff will have to deal with angry phone calls. However, using the de-escalation techniques in our workshops will help calm the situation down, leaving both agents and customers in a happier place.

Putting phone de-escalation training in place will help ensure that angry customers don’t take things too far and the staff knows where the limits lie.

Knowing how to deal with angry calls will give your business, company or organisation a better reputation, and provide customers a better experience, encouraging them to keep on coming back. 

How Do I Deal with Angry Customers over the phone?

If you wish to be successful in any business, you have to learn how to handle angry and disgruntled customers, who may not have received the level of service that they expected from the company that you are representing.

Before you devise a plan to cope with these difficult situations, it is important to try and understand the viewpoint from both sides. You are the initial point of contact with the angry customer and they are expressing their concerns about the company and not about you as an individual.

Angry Man on Telephone

Dealing with angry customers is frequently part of everyday routine of customer support agents in person or over the phone. Most of us would probably react offensively if we talked to an upset or angry clients over the phone. However, for customer support secretary or phone professionals, it is important to keep it cool and follow several principles which can lead to positive outcome and retain the customer. 

In our phone de-escalation training and workshops share advice on how to handle angry customers, including tips, examples and personal guidance to turn the difficult interaction around.

It happens on a regular basis! Angry customers express their frustration by aiming their complaints at staff members.

If this happens to you, then don’t despair. You are not the first to be concerned by raised voices and maybe even a threat of violent behaviour. Stay calm and devise a plan to face such a situation.

5-star Review

Phone De-escalation Testimonial 

“Bernie was approachable and personable. He shared effective real experiences and made an effort to engage with each of my fellow workers. He is an impressive facilitator and the phone communication strategies he presented has made me rethink how to obtain better outcome with an angry customer.

It was an exceptional two hour workshop with great practical examples and team learning.

I feel much more confident as I have learned some new techniques for managing complaints and dealing with the next angry customer over the phone. The workshop also highlighted a number of communication styles and the do’s and don’ts of dealing with each behaviour of a customer over the phone.

Bernie is down to earth – easy going and very knowledgeable. This was a great workshop. It was inspiring, energetic and he bought lots of ideas with both extensive and in depth knowledge together with specific examples. He got everyone in our group involved which contributed to interesting and focused discussions and practical solutions.

Bernie was very professional. I liked how he commented/recognised the experience in the room, he did not belittle anyone’s skills or lack of skills with customer service. It certainly helped to re-position my views and reignite my passion for assisting my customers.

The workshop was great on all levels and I was very impressed at how content was geared to our industry. Retained a great amount of info. Bernie one of the best trainers I have encountered. I have had many courses over the years and I will say that Bernie has been the most experienced and best trainer I have seen and been involved with.”

Susan Baker Queensland Titles Registry

Phone De-Escalation training, workshops.

Receptionist Icon

1. Teaching staff to Remain Calm

When someone is yelling at you, it’s easy to go into fight-or-flight mode. You want to yell back or transfer the call to someone else.

Handling escalated calls well, though, requires an almost Zen-like calm. Take a few deep breaths, and remember the customer is not actually angry at you. Upset callers are usually actually upset about their own problems.

Try to be empathetic, and imagine how you would feel in their situations. You might be surprised to find you’d be angry too!

Learning to Stay Calm is important for employees 

It’s no good if both the caller and call centre staff are getting angry. So, the first thing that needs to be done when dealing with an angry phone call is to stay calm. Remember, angry phone calls aren’t personal. It’s annoying, but the customer is just aiming their anger at whoever happens to pick up the phone.

Therefore, a representative must do what they can to remain calm and give an angry caller customer service that will turn their frown upside down. A good tip is to try and deal with an issue before it gets worse. Not taking things to heart will enable people to deal with the problem effectively.

Remaining Calm while dealing with angry or aggressive customers over the phone

How could you calm someone down without being calm yourself?

No matter how strong the urge is, avoid fighting back at all costs. You are a professional, representing a company, which is paid by the very same people that you’re dealing with. 

Occupational Phone Techniques on how to remain calm when dealing with rude or angry customers 

  • Practice potential responses. If you struggle with formulating good responses on the fly, write down a few answers to the most common scenarios and practice reading them in a calm, friendly voice. If you have trouble reacting, you may use real time from your supervisor. 
  • Ask your supervisor or other staff for feedback. They’ll be glad to give you pointers on your previous calls, and let you know if you sound frustrated, upset, or passive-aggressive. You can invite your supervisor to be in the call and help you without the customer knowing about it.
  • Avoid negative thoughts or venting to co-workers. A little venting can be helpful. Yet, if you catch yourself often having negative comments about the customers you’re dealing with (whether it’s in the breakroom, or just in your head), you’ll automatically feel less patient and empathetic while interacting with them. Instead, try to always put yourself in your customers’ shoes, even when just thinking about them. This prevents you from getting too annoyed. 

Remaining Calm important techniques while on the phone

Do not react. Keeping calm is key; reactions such as anxiousness or anger–while natural–will make things worse. If the customer views you as calm and professional, the customer will tend to “mirror” your reaction.

  • Try focusing on your breathing, by taking deep, calm breaths.
  • Do not be obvious about breathing heavily, however–it may come across as creepy or sighing.

Remain calm with your tone and breathing 

It is important to stay calm during a call to prevent the situation from escalating. Here are a few tips to try:

  • Focus on using an even tone while you speak. Using an agitated or angry tone will simply infuriate the caller even more.
  • Remember that the customer isn’t angry at you. It is the situation that is making the caller angry.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if this happened to you? Having a little bit of empathy for the caller can go a long way.
  • Take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves while the caller is talking.

2. Be selective with your communication and choose your words wisely.

Use the Customer’s Name

Using a customer’s name can be very useful. Remembering and using your customers’ names helps form and strengthen relationships and build trust.

How to get it right:

  • Remember the caller’s name. If you have trouble remembering names, jot it down as soon as you hear it.
  • Don’t say your customer’s name too often. If you try to insert your customer’s name after every sentence, it’ll feel forced and unnatural.
  • Avoid assumed shortened names. If the customer introduced herself as Samantha, don’t call her Sam. Some people detest their names shortened, which might irritate them even further when they’re already upset. 
  • Mirror their style. Some customers, depending on their age or cultural background, might find hearing their first names from you annoying or disrespectful. Mirror their level of formality: if they prefer to talk to you formally, it’s best to stick to Mr/Ms or Sir/Madam.  

You and your staff should always think about how you would like to be spoken to and the words that you would like to hear.

For example, if you are speaking to an angry woman, the last thing she will want to hear is you saying: “Alright, calm down, love!” Not only is this patronising and sexist, but it will just make her, even more, wound up.

A good idea is to consider the personality type of the customer and use the language suited to the scenario. An angry businessman or businesswoman, for instance, must get dealt with differently from an irate consumer.

Some people just want someone to vent to. They probably have a lot going on in their personal life. Unfortunately for you, that unexpected bill from your company is the thing that tipped them over the edge. Here, it’s important to respond using empathetic language.

Try responding with phrases like, “I’m sorry you feel this way” or, “May I suggest …”

A customer with a legitimate problem has a reason to be annoyed at your company. If a mistake has been made this needs to be acknowledged. Therefore, the language used for this angry phone call should again be empathetic and apologetic.

Try saying things like, “I’m so sorry to hear about this.” Or “I will action this for you right away”.

Dealing with an abusive customer can be particularly hard. Nobody should be expected to put up with angry customers being openly unpleasant to them. However, you should still try to calm the client down. Professional language should always be used in this scenario and the emotional side of things should also be understood.

Try saying, “I understand your concern, but we don’t tolerate the kind of language you are using”. Or “You seem very upset; would you like to continue this conversation through email?”

When dealing with an angry phone call, it’s best to use positive language. Such as “yes”, “definitely”, “understand”, and “recommend”. All of this will help.

Consider Your Way of Speaking over the phone to deescalate an angry or rude customer 

The tone of voice can be everything when dealing with an angry caller. Overly gentle and it can come across as patronising. Not gentle enough, and it can seem like you don’t care. Making either of these mistakes can exacerbate the situation.

Having a steady and calm voice will help calm things down. Apologising when needed will show that you take the situation seriously. And using a soft tone will show empathy to the situation.

Remember to always stay neutral when talking to customers. Part of angry caller customer service is to never respond to rude comments in kind. A man screaming down the phone won’t react well if you yell back.

It’s really important to never mock a caller. 

3. Don’t take an angry customer personally

We know that it can be hard to remain calm and not take it personally when someone is yelling at you on the phone. Even the most battle-tested customer service agent won’t be able to feel good about being screamed at for something that’s not their fault, or was out of their control.

But you need to realize that it really isn’t personal. A frustrated and angry customer probably has a few reasons to feel angry and upset, and they’re trying to vent. Yelling at you won’t make their problem go away, but it may make them feel a bit better.

So try your best to not take angry callers personally. They do not have a problem with you as a person – but with the company you’re representing. Don’t take their anger or rudeness personally.

However, there is a limit to this. For example, if a person is screaming obscenities or slurs or is attacking you personally, talk to your manager or supervisor about what to do. You may be allowed to hang up on the caller or transfer them to a manager or other higher-up in your customer service team.

Don’t take anything personally

If you still struggle with remaining calm, learning to take a step back and not taking the insults personally can help. 

It’s not just a tactic to make you feel better: customer insults are really not personal. 

Sure, some clients tend to get into personal attacks quickly when they’re upset. But even if they comment on your voice, style, or assumed background, always remember that they were already agitated before they even knew that they would talk to you. 

Granted, this doesn’t make it any more pleasant to deal with raging clients, but with patience and a relaxed voice, you’ll often find the same customer switching to a friendlier voice soon. 

How not to take the insult personally 

  • Keep reminding yourself that you’re the middleman, not the target. The customers are angry with the products or services they paid for, not you.
  • Ask your supervisor and experienced colleagues for advice. Every contact centre agent goes through the same process. Those who have been working with customers for a long time and still look motivated have developed the right toolkit to avoid taking unpleasant interactions too personally. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains!

4. Listen

Angry people usually have a lot to say. By the time they are talking to you, their minds have been swirling around and around, repeatedly going over their issues.

That’s okay. Let them talk.

Your job is to listen. Then, when they are done, reflect back on what they said. Start your sentences with “I hear…” or “I am hearing…”

At this point, you are not trying to solve their problem. You are providing validation which is a crucial first step in diffusing a tense interaction.

Reassure the Customer

One of the first and most important things to do is reassure the customer that you are listening. Even if you won’t be able to give them exactly what they want, they need to be sure that their message is getting across.

The sad fact is that many customers will have had negative experiences with contact centres before. You need to demonstrate that they have your attention and that you really intend to help.

“I always try to show I am really listening. Remember the human side of things and show empathy when the customer is distressed – there’s nothing worse than a ‘computer said no’ or ‘terms and conditions’ line when someone is upset.”

Rhian Roberts

Examples of reassuring statements

  • “Calling us was the right thing to do”
  • “I’ll let you explain the situation first, and then we’ll find you a solution”
  • “Please feel free to tell me anything you think is relevant”
  • “I can certainly understand why this is distressing”
  • “Your issue is a cause for concern – let’s find out why this happened”

Show Empathy

Showing empathy to your customers means that you try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they go through. Even if you can’t fully understand why they lose their temper over a seemingly insignificant detail, remember that you can never know anybody’s full story. They might be going through something that you have no idea about.

But even if they aren’t, treat them as if they were, and you’ll automatically deal with them with more empathy.

How to show empathy to your customers:

  • Use empathy phrases that convey empathy. For example, “I see how difficult this can be.” or “I understand why it puts you in a bad position, let me help you”. 
  • Don’t judge. Sometimes, the issues customers deal with don’t actually exist. For example, they didn’t find a piece of information or a button on the screen that, for you, is obvious. Don’t make them feel bad for mixing things up or missing something. It happens to the best of us.
  • Think like a customer. When we know too much about a topic, the curse of knowledge prevents us from understanding how it feels to be a beginner. Think back to the time when you knew as little about the products as the average client. It will help you empathize with frustrated customers.

Examples of empathy statements 

  • “I would feel the same in your situation, but we will sort this out”
  • “Your experience does not meet our expectations”
  • “I know how frustrating it can be – let’s see how I can help you”
  • “I can certainly appreciate how you feel”
  • “Thank you for bringing this to my attention”

Phone advisors can use phrases that build a relationship with the customer, making it much harder for them to act aggressively.

Examples of statements that add personality

  • “Let’s work together to solve this”
  • “I’m as surprised as you are that this has happened – let’s sort it out”
  • “Here’s an idea – tell me what you think of this”

Placing yourself on the customer’s side will divert their anger. This also restores their faith in the brand and lets them know that you are there to help.

The advisor has to understand whether the customer’s needs are ‘physical’ or ’emotional’. With physical needs, the customer is angry because they don’t have something they should have.

Phrases for those customers are things like: “Let me sort this out for you so you can get the refund you were expecting”.

If their needs are emotional, they are angry because the advisor has not understood how they are feeling.

For those customers, use phrases like: “I can tell you are frustrated, and my job is to make sure you are not frustrated anymore.”

Let the Customer Talk.

Often, all a customer wants to do is get things off their chest. For whatever reason, they feel they have been wronged and they want to rant. Let them do so.

It might even be that a situation has become a bit complicated and they just need a chance to get things clear in their heads. Nobody likes being interrupted or second-guessed. So, just let them get their point across.

Granted, it can be a bit hard to catch what a person is saying if they are on a cell phone or are speaking to you from a coffee shop. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make notes where possible and let the person talk.

Of course, if they are a difficult customer then there may be a point that they need to be cut off. But otherwise, try to listen to what they are saying. Once they have calmed down, ask them questions that will help get to the root cause of the issue.

Improving Your Active Listening Skills

The first step of handling an angry customer is not figuring out what to say.

As mentioned before the first step is to learn to listen.

But, listening doesn’t just mean letting the other person talk while you’re silent. 

You need to listen in a way that makes the customer feel heard. 

Even if there’s no solution to the problem, or you find it unjustified, your first job is to acknowledge that the customer is unhappy and understand their point of view without judgment.

Advanced bookings recommended
To inquire about the diverse range of training services available you are most welcome to call us today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.

How to practice active listening: 

  • Never cut into your customer’s words. Even if you’ve heard the same problem that day, don’t rush them by finishing their sentences. Acknowledge that they matter and show patience. Whatever it is they’re dealing with, don’t trivialize it. 
  • Take notes during the conversation. Get down every detail so that you can be efficient when finding a solution. Thus, you won’t waste the customer’s time by having them repeat the whole story. Write down the customer’s own words. That way, each of your colleagues sees what the customer’s issue was about.”
  • Use verbal cues. Occasionally, use positive words to show that you’re paying attention. This can be as simple as “Oh I see!” or “Yes”. 
  • Ask questions – never assume. Don’t try to fill in the gaps by yourself. Asking questions about the situation is another way to show the customer that you’re ready to help, and getting as much information as possible helps you crack the case faster. 
  • Summarize, paraphrase and repeat back the issue. While continuously asking the customer to repeat the issue shows that you’re not listening, asking for confirmation through paraphrasing and summarizing does the opposite. You can start your sentences like this: “So if I understand correctly, the issue is…” or “Just to make sure I got it correctly, what you’re dealing with is…” and then summarize the issue in a few keywords. But, don’t trivialize the problem. Summarizing also helps you make sure you truly understand what needs fixing.

4. Apologize to Deescalate an Upset Caller

Apologize when it’s appropriate.

If the problem was caused by something you or another employee did, apologize to the customer for the mistake. If the problem is a result of something the customer did wrong, you don’t need to apologize. You can simply say, “That’s not what we want, so let’s see what we can do to make it right.”

  • An example of a possible apology is “I’m so sorry we messed up your order and caused this inconvenience. Let’s talk about how we can make it up to you.”
  • Another: “It looks like there was an issue on your order. I’m so sorry that happened. We can have a replacement for you in two days. Should I ship it to your work or home address?”

A sincere apology goes a long way towards calming down an irate customer. Poor or inappropriate communication, on the other hand, will make the situation worse.

The more personalized your apology, the more heartfelt it will appear. Take some of the details from the customer’s complaint, and sprinkle them throughout your apology.

Also, make sure to follow your apology with a specific plan of action. Tell your customer how you are going to begin solving their problem.

How to apologize the right way: 

  • Don’t just throw in a few meaningless sorries. Make your message specific. For example: “I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing an issue with the internet connection today” or “We’re truly sorry you had a bad experience with the quality of the product”. Without specifying, it may sound like you’re not actually sorry at all. 
  • Make your apology solution-oriented. While an apology is important to keep a customer feeling good, it’s still empty unless you pair it with the promise of a solution. For example: “I’m sorry that your package hasn’t arrived yet. I’m going to contact the logistics department right now, could you please hold for a moment?” or “I’m sorry about your bad experience, please give me a moment to initiate the refund process.”

5. Repeat the Information The Caller Is Giving You

This is a very helpful “active listening” technique that allows you to ensure the customer feels like they’re being heard, and you’re ready to help them with their problem.

For example, if a customer calls you and is very rude or upset because they were charged for a subscription that they cancelled, listen to them carefully – then summarize what they’ve told you. You could say something like:

So, you’re saying that you were charged for your subscription to [THE SPECIFIC SERVICE] even though you cancelled it. You would like a refund, and to make sure that your subscription is cancelled so you’re not charged again. Is that right?

Repeating their information and asking if you are understanding them properly will give them time to calm down, and reassurance that you really are listening and trying to empathize with their situation.

Keep the Conversation Factual

When a customer is overwhelmed with negative emotions no matter what you try, it’s best to steer the conversation toward cold facts. Simply outline the situation to the customer, which helps them to focus on providing information instead of venting. 

How to stay factual:

  • Use statements that help the conversation stay factual. You can start with a sentence like:  “Let me check if I’ve got all the facts straight” and then summarize the issue. To get more details, you can ask: “Is there anything else about the situation I need to know?”
  • Offer to bring in the supervisor or a different agent. You can mention in a calm voice: “To guarantee we find the best possible solution, may I bring my supervisor to the call?” or “To provide you with the best support regarding X, let me transfer this call to our highest- skilled agent  specified in this area“

Examples of statements to keep the interaction factual

  • “Let me check I’ve got all the facts straight”
  • “This will help to make sure that I’m definitely the right person to assist you”
  • “To guarantee you get the best possible help, I may bring my supervisor into the call”
  • “Is there anything else about the situation I need to know?”
  • “I’ll do this for you as quickly as possible”

6. Whatever You Do, Resist the Urge to Put the Caller on Hold

When handling difficult customers on the phone or call centre, the absolute worst thing you can do is put them on hold. Nothing is more irritating to an already angry customer than waiting on hold and not knowing what’s going on. As a customer phone call agent, it can be very tempting to put angry callers on hold. Nobody wants yet another angry phone call to ruin their day. Some even believe going on hold will give the person a chance to calm down.

But putting a frustrated person on hold can just make the situation worse. It leads to people feeling like they are being ignored. 

Instead use concise, polite customer service over the phone is the very first step in proving an upset caller you are committed to help them with their problem.

If you are researching their problem, talk them through it. Let the customer know exactly what you are doing as you problem-solve. This is one of the best ways to show them you care.

7. Directing the customer to a clear course of action

Empathy and apologies are necessary to gain the customer’s trust.

If there isn’t a clear solution, consider letting the customer choose which course of action to take. Having choices is calming because it offers a sense of control.

Above all, don’t end the call saying, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do.” That’s a sure-fire recipe for getting the manager or supervisor involved.

8. Reassure the customer 

Reassure the customer that you will do everything you possibly can to help them – but don’t promise them something you can’t authorize or follow through on.

For example, if they want a refund for a faulty product, and you’re not allowed to approve such a refund, don’t promise them that they will get a refund.

Instead, be honest, and tell them that you will do your best to work with a supervisor to issue them a refund, but you cannot promise anything.

Stay Positive and Always Provide a Solution

Although it might be different than what the customer expects, there’s always a solution. 

Assure your customer that you will find the best possible scenario for their issue. A good customer service representative never uses the word “no” – or its variations, such as “it’s not possible”, “we can’t” or “it can’t be done”. Even if it’s not the perfect solution, the person on the other side of the line will be happier to hear what you CAN do for them. 

Woman working at computer

Examples of statements to introduce solutions

  • “Your issue is unusual, but I have dealt with similar cases before and I can help you”
  • “In my experience the best way to proceed is_____. How does that sound to you?”
  • “I’ll investigate this right away and find out why your experience has suffered”
  • “There are a few ways to address this – we just need to find the best fit for you”
  • “I know this isn’t how you want to spend your morning, and I can offer you this solution”

It’s important that if you give a negative message, you counter it with a positive one. “While I can’t do that for you, I can do this for you.” Little things go a long way, like “Thank you for being patient while I look into this” or “Thank you for waiting on hold while I attempt to resolve this”.

9. Know When to Bring In a Manager or Supervisor

If you can calm a customer down with effective de-escalation over the phone and understand their situation, you probably won’t have to bring in a manager or a supervisor, and you can resolve the problem on your own.

But sometimes, customers may be unwilling to be cooperative, and may repeatedly ask to speak to a manager or supervisor. If this is the case, it’s perfectly acceptable to transfer them to your supervisor, manager, or any other person responsible for handling phone call escalations.

Or, they may need help that you simply are not authorized to provide, due to a complex situation or a problem you can’t resolve using your own skills or level of authority.

10. Follow Up After the Call

This is a great way to make sure that a customer’s issue has been completely resolved. We recommend following up with a call or an email after the customer has gotten off of the line, and to ask how their experience was, and make sure their issue was resolved.

By following up, you can make it clear that you truly care about how the customer was treated – and you can tell them that you’re willing to help with any further issues they may have.

This is a great way to turn a frustrated consumer into a brand advocate.

We can help with the training of staff with angry Caller phone De-escalation skills 

Conducting an angry caller workshop and training means learning boundaries and the effective education and training of staff. Examples of boundaries might include 

  • The three-strike rule – This is giving two warnings to the customer before cutting off an angry phone call. Of course, this should be done in a diplomatic way and as a last resort. But, if the agent has tried to work alongside the customer and they just aren’t playing ball, it’s time to say goodbye.
  • Possibly let managers listen to the call – Having people with more expertise listen to an angry call can help. They know when it’s appropriate to cut things off, and can help agents learn for the future. It also lets staff know they are respected in their job.
  • Make a follow-up call – Of course, you want to support your staff when they deal with a bad customer. But even if a client is having a (very) off day, you don’t necessarily want to lose custom with them. It can have a bad impact on your brand, to say the least. Having a follow-up call can help mend any ties.
  • Know how to deal with repeat offenders.

Dealing with Escalating Anger

1. Ask questions to calm the customer down. Rather than arguing with the customer, ask questions to focus their mind on the facts. Try asking them to clarify a couple of details from their story, or ask them how they want to see the situation remedied.

  • For example, you could ask, “What’s your ideal solution to this issue?”

2. Stop the customer if they become directly abusive toward you.
 Allow them to communicate their feelings, but if they begin to call you names or use explicit language, cut them off. Tell them what the consequences will be if they continue speaking in this manner.

  • For example, you could say, “Sir, I understand that you’re frustrated, but if you continue to use that kind of language I’ll have to end the call.”
  • If you don’t own the business, make sure you know ahead of time what your company’s policy is regarding abusive language. Your employer should have a written rule about when it’s acceptable to disconnect a call.

3. Respect the customer’s wishes to speak with a supervisor. 
The customer may be so fed up with the situation that they ask to speak to someone in a position of power. Don’t take this personally or get defensive if they demand it; just oblige them and pass them on to your manager.

  • If you’re the manager or owner, politely tell them so by saying, “I am the manager on duty. I’d like to hear your story and work on a solution with you.”

4. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. 
Making the customer feel appreciated may help to defuse some of their anger. Show them that you view their call not as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to improve.

  • Try finishing the interaction with a quick “Thank you for letting us know about this. We don’t want this to happen again.”

5. Take time to unwind after the call. 
Calls like this can be emotionally draining, so if you have the chance, take a break. Step outside to take a quick walk around the block. Head to the break room to grab a cup of coffee and chat with a co-worker. Or just take five minutes at your desk to meditate and take deep breaths.

Advanced bookings recommended
To inquire about the diverse range of training services available you are most welcome to call us today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.

If the same issue is reoccurring we recommend for you to inform phone staff to pass on this communication to Management.

If an issue is recurring, instead of just dealing with it each time, talk with management about improving processes so the issue is minimised in future. This way you are actively assisting angry customers, whilst avoiding future stress.

Some key points and skills for telephone customer service over the phone for staff, workers and employees 

1. Adopt a Positive Tone

Projecting an enthusiastic, natural, and attentive tone while on the phone can help a customer feel comfortable during a conversation.

2. Clear Enunciation

The ability to understand what someone is saying on the phone separates a productive conversation from one filled with tension.

Speaking clearly and calmly: It’s important for your customers to understand you and not feel rushed. By speaking clearly and calmly, you’re also telling them that they have your undivided attention.

3. Be Sincere

Starting with the greeting, conversations over the phone must be sincere.  Say hello and be genuine.  Try to avoid scripted greetings as most sound artificial and inauthentic. 

Include the company’s name, your name, and offer your assistance as soon as you answer the phone.  If you’re receiving a transferred call or if you’re working on the switchboard, state the name of the department you are a part of in order to give the client the appropriate information.  Doing this will ease the customer into the exchange and let them know that you are calm and ready to help. 

Once you’re in the middle of the conversation, give the person on the other end of the line genuine answers.  Be sure to word these in a positive manner, as you don’t want to inject any negativity into the exchange. 

Avoid phrases such as “I don’t know,” “I can’t do that,” or “Just a second.”  Specify how long completing a task will take, and state what you can do rather than what you cannot.

Answering a customer’s questions with sincerity and positivity will not only satisfy them by the end of the conversation but will also help calm an angry caller.

4. Use Their Name

As soon as you receive a customer’s name, use it. 

Write down the individual’s initials in order to ‘monogram’ the call.  This will help you remember the client’s name and will personalize the call for you. 

5. Use the 5 C’s

There are five basic components to good communication – it should be clear, complete, concise, concrete, and correct.

Make sure that the customer understands your explanation or solution by stating it clearly, describing it briefly but completely, in terms that are specific – and, importantly, that you have all of your facts straight. Providing bad information, or information that the customer doesn’t understand, is both unhelpful and unlikely to leave a good impression.

6. Leave the Customer Satisfied

As with most things, finishing a conversation on the right note can create lasting positivity and a satisfied customer.

In order to achieve a great ending to a telephone call, make sure that the caller understands the information you passed along before you hang up.  Ask the customer, “Is there anything else I can help you with?”  Answer any final questions he or she may have to ensure complete comprehension and satisfaction.  Also, provide any information that the customer might need in the future.  If he or she needs to call back, share optimal contact times and whom he or she should call. 

Once all of the necessary information has been shared, finish the call in a friendly manner.  Say, “Have a nice day” or, “It was nice talking with you”.  This will let the customer know that you happily helped them and that you would be willing to aid them again in the future. 

Finishing a conversation in a positive manner can transform what may have started as an angry phone call to a pleasant experience for the customer.

5-star Review

Phone De-escalation Testimonial 

“The de-escalation training two hour workshop was cleverly designed to increase our confidence using very functional techniques such as practical real examples and role playing. This was effective as it felt like a real representation of possible situations that can occur and gets you solution oriented. I have learned a great deal including not only how to remain calm in certain circumstances but understanding why they may arise.  Despite having many years of working in customer service, this training gave me a new perspective and a different way to look and understand how to positively deal with difficult phone calls.

Bernie was engaging and got everyone involved. The training was up-beat and positive.

I definitely have more confidence and I do feel I could implement what I have learnt should a situation arise with angry customers over the phone.

Bernie made the training enjoyable interesting and thought provoking, increasing awareness in being proactive with day to day dealings with customers.

The workshop helped enormously in re-building our self-esteem and helping us to feel more confident and safe in everyday working lives. We appreciate your workshop delivery creating a safe, respectful, relaxed and interactive environment for myself and other staff and we enjoyed the de-escalation training enormously. The simple tips provided are very useful and practical to enhance de-escalation.

Bernie was great to deal with and responded well to questions with effective solutions. He tailored the training to suit our needs as phone operators. The training of staff provided us with essential de-escalation skills.”

Paul Townsend Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Advanced bookings recommended

To inquire about the diverse range of training services available you are most welcome to call us today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.

Investment: To be discussed based on your needs and training requirements. We offer in-person De-escalating, Occupational prevention techniques Courses, programs, and workshops run by expert trainers to organisations across Australia. Our programs and training are available throughout Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Queensland and Australia.

Give us a call today on 0409474494 or use the booking form to discuss your requirements, specific objectives, and desired outcomes.