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If a customer started to insult, what's the best and most polite way to say that they should not be Off-topic of the call and they should stick to the topic? Can I say watch your language?

If they repeatedly insulted me, How can I threaten them of ending the call very politely?

closed as too broad by user3169, Jason Bassford, ColleenV Aug 6 '18 at 23:44

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    I'm not sure this counts as "English Language Learning". You should be given training on what to say in particular situations, and you should follow the script that you should have received. You will have a supervisor. What did your supervisor recommend? What exactly was the "insult"? – James K Aug 6 '18 at 20:03
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    You cannot say "Watch your language". That is what someone in authority says to someone over whom they have authority, such as a parent to a child. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 6 '18 at 20:17
  • This really is controlled by business policy, what you can say without getting fired. Even if placed in an uncontrolled environment, there would be too many possible answers based on individual opinion. Relating a specific conversation in a language (not business) context would be better. – user3169 Aug 6 '18 at 20:22
  • Try workplace.stackexchange.com – LawrenceC Aug 6 '18 at 22:34
  • @JamesK My supervisors don't teach me English. They teach me knowledge about the products and the services. Insults are F**k and similar words. – user2824371 Aug 7 '18 at 16:00
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You cannot say "Watch your language". That is what someone in authority says to someone over whom they have authority, such as a parent to a child. (from comment)

If the customer is being rude about the company or the product, this is just them offloading. For a sarcastic caller, where there is no personal abuse, you can say

“We really do appreciate this feedback, Mrs Brown…”

For a personally abusive caller you can use some form of words like

“I truly understand your concern, Sir/Madam, but unfortunately we cannot tolerate the kind of language you are using right now…”

I took this expression from Callcentrehelper.com which gives further advice on the right expressions to use with different types of angry customer.

However, that website is intended for call centre supervisors. You should be given training on what to do with an abusive caller. If you don't have training, then this needs to be raised with management.

It seems the standard practice is to give three warnings of the type above, and then say

I am now terminating this call.

and hang up without further comment or apology. Never threaten anything.

Further advice on what not to say to angry cuntstormers

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    The first thing I think of when I hear "Watch your language" is that someone has cussed, and is being admonished not to use such foul language. While the expression is generally said by authority figures, there may be a few exceptions; for example: "Hey, watch your language! There are kids right over there." – J.R. Aug 6 '18 at 20:38
  • Yes, but admonishment is not what call centre agents should be doing to customers. Even in the situation you describe, it still means that one person is acting as the guardian of morality, and is expressing society's authority over another. Saying "Watch your language" to an angry caller is just going to rile them even more. – James K Aug 6 '18 at 20:43
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    Notice how I've avoided saying anything about what may or may not be appropriate for a customer service call. I was merely elaborating on the meaning of "Watch your language," which I think is a legitimate question on an English learner's forum, but wasn't addressed very thoroughly in your answer, save twenty-one words copied from a comment. – J.R. Aug 6 '18 at 20:47
  • Err, well the question was "If a customer started to insult, what's the best and most polite way to say that they should not be Off-topic" The question was not about the meaning of "watch your language". So I've tried to answer the question. Even if you didn't get much, I hope the OP did. – James K Aug 6 '18 at 20:51
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    Notice how I didn't criticize the rest of your answer, either. What you said was fine. This is a multifaceted question; I just thought there would be some value in explaining the meaning of the phrase a bit more, especially since it was specifically asked about. RE: The question was not about the meaning of "watch your language" – perhaps not, but the OP did specifically ask if it was appropriate, and I think future visitors deserve to know why it isn't by learning more about how it's used. – J.R. Aug 6 '18 at 21:32
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Never meet them on their own ground, they may be better at insults than you. Always be polite.

Thank you for your call, but your issue is more complicated than my pay grade can handle. This is an important question, and I can pass it up to the management team. May I take some contact details? Please wait to hear back from them.

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An angry or insulting customer(or some of them) can push your buttons just as anyone else might.

( Watch your language!!??? I think you're just taking it very seriously.)

When a customer hurls an insult your way, you have several choices for responses, but the first one to try is ignoring the attack.

So my first tip is: Silence! Never return insult for insult.

If you can grit your teeth and continue as if you heard nothing, the situation may improve without a confrontation. Stop yourself from taking personal offense. Remaining objective and impersonal in your response may keep the interchange from escalating further.

The second tip: End the exchange

If the customer does not respond positively to your attempts at diffusing and resolving the situation, tactfully explain that you need to end the exchange. Try saying something like:

“I can hear how upset you are. Perhaps we could continue this conversation and work toward a solution tomorrow when you’re feeling a little less angry. I look forward to the opportunity to resolve this issue when we meet again.”

Or you can say:

“I understand how upset you are. I would like to transfer you to my supervisor to see if she/he can better assist you.”

You can also say:

“Would you like to continue this conversation over email?”

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Finally:

If there doesn’t seem to be hope of diffusing the situation by transferring the caller, or if the caller continues to be rude, you can say:

“I want to help you find a solution, but we cannot tolerate insulting or abusive language. Please call back when you are ready to continue. I am now ending the call.”

Read more at callcentrehelper.

Good luck!

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If a customer started to insult, what's the best and most polite way to say that they should not be Off-topic of the call and they should stick to the topic?

Some "magic words" that are pretty standard are:

  • I understand that, {customer name}, but ...

  • I'm sorry you feel that way.

Can I say watch your language?

Only if they use "curse words". Saying this is something that requires authority - which you do have as a customer representative. You have a right to be treated professionally and to ask to be treated professionally.

If they repeatedly insulted me, How can I threaten them of ending the call very politely?

  • Excuse me, I will have to end this call if you continue to use offensive or harassing language. Please watch your language.

The exact words "offensive" and "harassing" are important as many HR policies prohibit specifically "offensive" and "harassing" language/behavior in their handbooks. It won't give you any legal power but, if the reason for ending the call had to be logged or communicated, those words form the start of a great case for ending the call.

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