How to Turn a Frustrated Caller into a Happy One

Homemade Smiley Face French Fries with Ketchup

Everyone has bad days, and callers are no exception. As Ruby virtual receptionists, we have training on how to defuse a frustrated caller. I had the opportunity this week to turn a particularly upset caller into a happy caller.

After I read the company’s greeting and asked, “How may I help you?” the caller responded, “Well, Whitney, I am not happy.” I knew I was in for a doozy. I immediately turned on my Ruby charm and began to try to help the caller to the best of my ability. Apparently, the caller had been having some technical issues with a product that he had purchased from the company. On top of his technical issues, he had been having a hard time getting in touch with anyone who could help him.

Using these techniques, Rubys are able to turn tense callers into satisfied, and even pleased ones – and you can, too!


On every call, but particularly on calls in which the caller is frustrated or upset, I make sure that I am actively listening and understanding their problem. The better I understand what is happening, the better I can direct them to who can solve their problem. And if I cannot get them in touch with someone directly, I am able to relay the nature of the problem in a detailed message to our client.

Talk it out.

This caller had already been trying to get in touch with the company for technical support. At this point, I knew that I had go beyond just trying to connect him to the support department. I kept the caller in the loop and let him know everything I was doing to aid in solving his problem. When I was not able to reach anyone, I let him know that I would take a detailed message, along with the point that he had been having difficulty trying to reach anyone and send it to multiple people.

Be transparent.

After every line I tried, I would go back to the caller and let him know my next step. “I am going to try to reach Brian Smith, the president of the company, for you. One more moment while I try his line.” By letting the caller know everything I was doing and every action I was taking, he knew I wasn’t just putting him on hold and that I was actively trying to solve his problem.


When the caller feels like their emotions have been acknowledged, they are more likely to appreciate you. I try to work phrases like, “I understand why that would be frustrating.” or “Absolutely, I would be frustrated too,” into my conversation.

Offer further assistance.

By simply saying, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” you are showing the caller that their time is valuable. Most of the time their answer will be “no,” but it is the gesture that counts. It shows that the caller is more than just one problem and you are genuinely interested in how you can help.

While I was not able to get this particular caller in touch with anyone at that very moment, I used communication, transparency, and sympathy to guide the call to a helpful resolution. I let him know what I was going to do to relay his problem to the people who would be able to help him. At the end of the call, I offered any further assistance. His reply was better than anything I could have hoped for: “Whitney, the only way I could be happier is if there were two of you working on this!” It was then that I knew I had done my job and successfully turned the caller’s experience with that company positive.