Handling calls from senior citizens can be challenging yet rewarding for call center agents. Most seniors are patient and polite from their years of caring for their kids and grandkids. However, some suffer from neurodegenerative diseases or trauma from previous experiences, so it may be harder to get a message across.
Fortunately, we've listed a few tips and tricks that inbound and outbound call center agents can put their seniors at ease. This way, you won't go to work feeling frustrated or dreading your job.
Don’t speak louder; speak lower.
When speaking to seniors over the phone, it's best to avoid speaking with a higher call volume or a loud voice. Believe it or not, older adults can hear lower frequencies sound better than higher ones. So, as an inbound contact center agent, it helps to be patient and not always assume they can't hear what you're saying.
Also, hearing subtle consonants like ‘S,’ ‘H,’ and ‘F’ can be a challenge for them; in fact, most people begin to lose their ability to hear these sounds in their 20’s. So, you may need to put stress on those particular letters. This will save you time and decrease the number of times you need to repeat yourself, ultimately improving agent productivity and customer satisfaction.
Don’t pressure them to disclose all their information.
It's normal for older people to feel slightly paranoid, especially those with dementia, so don’t expect them to immediately give you all the information you need. Seniors are more vulnerable to scams and fraud, and they're fully aware of this. For this reason, they may not be as open to you as a younger client is.
Although some senior care homes may protect their residents, they can't help these seniors manage their insurance, properties, funds, etc. Homes like the Cedar Ridge Village provide maximum protection for their residents and make assisted living in Des Moines comfortable and safe.
However, even with a reasonable care home assisting them, you’ve got to recognize that they’re still a bit scared, so you need to be patient with them. Explain to them elaborately what you’re trying to do for them and why their information is important. If there’s something you can’t do for them immediately (for example, putting them through to a doctor), apologize and explain to them why it isn’t possible at the moment. Tell them what they need to do to get through to a doctor and how long it would take. Let them know that you’re on their side and you’re doing everything you can to assist them.
It may be tempting to rush through the call so you can get to the next client, but if you’re going to get through a call with a senior successfully, you’ve got to sharpen your listening skills. Treat each client with understanding and patience; you never know if they’ve had a bad experience with a previous inbound call center agent or don’t have family coming to visit.
Most older adults won’t go straight to the point when you’re asking them questions; they may ramble or start to tell you about their day. Try indulging them for a minute or two before you get to the main issues. Doing this will make them more comfortable with you and give you the information you need to help them.
As a contact center agent who manages calls from elderly clients, it helps to apply these tips if possible. We hope these tips will make things easier for you and your clients.