Taking the worst possible call.....  

kitchenfun1234 45M
2103 posts
7/29/2006 8:18 am

Last Read:
8/2/2006 10:59 am

Taking the worst possible call.....


OK, here's one for the AdultFriendFinder collective.

I've been in training for the last week. Customer service training, learning how to deal with unhappy people. No not bank unhappy.....think more unhappy than that.
OK, I'm seasoned in the black arts of customer service but the training team has some youngsters that are straight out of school.

One question stumped us all. It's how to handle a bereaved caller. Someone calling to report the death of someone close, such as a child or husband, wife etc.

Personally I find there are few words that sound right.

"I'm sorry to hear that...." just doesn't cut it.

OK, so the odds are that the deceased is someone I could have never met, but some human sympathy is due without appearing patronising or rude.

What do you think is the best thing to say. Do you have any stock phrases, (Any language)? I sure don't !

In the past I've got by with a mixture of sympathetic noises and almost doing an impression of a friendly dog. A dog that know's he can't quite understand what the caller is going through but feels the sorrow the only way he can.

Don't ever give up searching for the fun in life.


countryheart_71 46F
8081 posts
7/29/2006 9:45 am

When this happens at my job, I usually say 'I know your grief.' If the customer feels like talking, then I usually let them vent for a bit, then I ask them how I can help them today. It has worked for me. Maybe this will help you. Just a thought.

~Country~


kitchenfun1234 replies on 7/29/2006 1:31 pm:
hmmm interesting wording..... I might give it a go. Thanks

cuteNEway 42F

7/29/2006 12:21 pm

I've been in the business for most of my working life. What seems to work best without sounding callous or patronizing is, "I'm sorry for your loss."

People will usually say thank you and continue about the business at hand. Sometimes, as country said, they will vent. At this point you just listen. Once they finish you simply tell them, "Again I'm very sorry for your loss. Now allow me to assist you with this..." account, membership, subscription or whatever it is that you work with.

You've shown your sympathy, you haven't been patronizing plus you've taken control of your call.

Hope this helps!


kitchenfun1234 replies on 7/29/2006 1:34 pm:
Yep that's the standard one we've been given. Tends to work. But people have to be in the right frame of mind. Sometimes we get callers who aren't. The come straight from the hospital sometimes.

Thanks for your comments.....

LustyTaurus 50M
21253 posts
7/30/2006 2:05 pm

I don't know the nature of your work exactly, but I've found that every person is different when it comes to the death of someone close. In the past, I've just listened and when given the opportunity I'll say something simple like "I'm sorry for your loss...how can I help"...if they haven't said already.


kitchenfun1234 replies on 7/30/2006 3:12 pm:
yep, that's it exactly. Strange that it never seems enough though. there are limitations to the language. It's better when we have a customer face to face in the room. Then we have a wider range of options to express sympathy. However over the phone as cuteNEway so rightly points out, there is a need to express sympathy and still retain control of the call

moonlightphoenix 46F
6508 posts
7/31/2006 9:25 pm

Good question. Not ever having had suffer a close loss, I could never presume to say "I know your grief" and I'd worry it would miminimzing their pain. I usually add a "so" in there with emphasis. "I'm SO sorry to hear that. It must be difficult. Perhaps we can...."

I dunno...probably not helpful at all, but a good question.

Good luck.


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