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How To Keep Your Cool During A High Stress Call


When you consider high stress occupations, you might think about police officers, firefighters, emergency room doctors or other first responders. Call handlers also face high stress situations which could directly impact a caller’s state of mind for better or worse. Depending on the client, a telephone representative could be speaking to a frustrated customer or dealing with a life or death situation as well. The success or failure of these stressful situations are heavily determined by the person’s reaction to it.

So how do these call handlers stay cool under pressure?

Always Be Prepared

Before even answering a call, a call handler must be calm and collected. They should already be prepared to handle any type of call, the temperament of the caller and what questions they may need to answer. A safe and happy work environment will include ways for the call representative to take care of themselves in between calls so their voice is a soothing and welcome sound to a possibly tense caller.


Pay Attention

On either end of a stressful call, both parties will be reacting to each other. In order to remain calm, a telephone representative must pay attention, not only to their triggers and emotions, but also to the caller’s language. Body language is difficult to decipher on a phone call but a smile or clinched teeth are easily recognizable.


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Respond Appropriately

Once the situation has been assessed, a call handler must decide the next course of action. Responding appropriately may not always mean “talking”. In some cases, simply listening intently is enough to diffuse a situation. Not speaking may also be a way for the representative to take notes, look up an answer or make a plan to escalate the call. Communicating the plan effectively will also help the caller to feel that they are in good hands.



Another way to keep grace under pressure is to decompress in between calls. Strong emotion or energy from a stressed or angry caller can remain long after the call is over. A telephone operator may need to take time to step away from the phone after a high stress call. Good ideas for decompressing include a visit with a co-worker, taking a short walk, or getting some fresh air to clear the mind.

An experienced call center or answering service will be prepared to handle emergency calls gracefully. Being aware of what is happening and remaining neutral with these steps will help alleviate the tension on a high stress call. Staying cool under pressure may take some practice but the results will be worth it.
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Topics: Better Business