For many call centre and customer support workers, verbal abuse and threats are a regular occurrence.

According to the Institute of Customer Service, 60% of call handlers have experienced hostility over the phone. Nearly half of those who faced abuse said callers were becoming more aggressive because of staff shortages…

With the current recruitment crisis and backlogged services, call queues are becoming even longer and patience is wearing thin — and customer support workers bear the brunt of these frustrations.

Harassment has become a growing concern for call centres and customer support desks, and this issue is particularly prevalent for female staff.

In fact, 39% of call handlers say sexual harassment from callers is a big issue. But it isn’t part of the job — and shouldn’t be tolerated. So, how can employers protect their teams?

Rerouting caller harassment

Some companies are acknowledging ongoing abuse and stepping in with new terms for their staff.

Lloyds Bank, for example, issues warnings to aggressive customers; if those warnings are ignored, the call is ended and a recorded message lets customers know their accounts could be closed.

But what more can be done in the stages leading up to harassment over the phone?

Record calls

Alerting customers that calls are recorded for monitoring can immediately deter them from abusive behaviour.

Recording calls also enables managers to find out exactly what was said and find an appropriate solution to issues that have taken place with their agents and customers. It’s also handy for training purposes and improving call-handling practices if necessary.

Play a pre-recorded message

There’s no excuse for threats and harassment — but having a pre-recorded message that keeps customers in the loop when staff are inundated with calls can minimise aggressive behaviour.

Adding a simple message explaining that staff are working as hard as they can to help customers may help to reduce frustration — or give callers the option to ring back another time.

Enhance self-service options 

Self-serve is an emerging contact centre trend that can be incredibly helpful in managing seasonal customer service demand. Essentially, it’s about allowing customers to answer their own questions.

By enhancing the frequently asked questions, resource library and user-friendliness of a business’ website, customers can easily find the answers to their questions online, and they’ll be less likely to call.

Self-serve options can help reduce call volume and free agents to field more critical calls, increasing service levels and avoiding frustrations over long hold times.

Use call analytics to spot busy times and issues

Call analytics is an excellent tool for improving customer service and relieving the pressures of call centre staff.

Using this tool to spot key issues, including busy periods and recurring customer issues, helps employers determine working schedules and ensure enough staff work during peak times.

Taking these proactive measures is a step in the right direction. But what more can be done to protect employees from aggressive spam calls — or even stop them in their tracks?

We have a solution.

Calling for backup

 Invosys is passionate about improving call security nationwide — and has created several tools to bolster the safety and quality of call centre operations…

Built into our best-selling Number Manager platform, Invosys Call Shield identifies fraudulent or spam calls based on their location, call source, number presentation and the volume of concurrent calls.

We can extract and analyse the metadata of every single phone call, profiling it and establishing whether it has all the typical characteristics of a spam call — before employees have time to pick up the phone.

Think aggressive callers can slip through the net? Think again.

Number Manager’s handy caller exceptions feature allows our customers to upload specific nuisance numbers in order to block or flag them — enabling you to define a workflow around handling spam calls and ensuring you have proper call security processes in place.

And it’s only getting better. Invosys is working on a savvy new feature that lets agents intercept malicious calls whilst they’re happening — barring the caller from getting in touch again (even if they hide their number) and protecting staff from malicious callers.

All in a day’s work…

Invosys is on a mission to protect our customers from abuse and harassment. Looking for an intelligent solution to keep aggressive callers at bay — and your staff safe? Contact us at 0161 444 3333 to learn more about Invosys Call Shield’s features.