About Jo Meunier

Jo is a Senior Editor at Alliance Virtual Offices. She loves chatting with people about virtual offices and is always eager to share stories, tips and ideas about remote work on the Alliance Blog. Connect with Jo on LinkedIn.

Live Receptionist 101: What Happens When Your Disgruntled Customer Calls


Share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin


From time to time, every business runs into a situation involving a less-than-satisfied customer. Your product threw a glitch, your online booking transaction failed at the crucial moment, or a bug in the system charged your client twice.

Or, perhaps the fault doesn’t lie with you at all.

Regardless, what really matters is how you communicate with the affected party during those times. This is especially important when the caller in question isn’t even your own client.

That’s the reality of Alliance Virtual’s team of receptionists.

It’s their job to answer incoming business calls on behalf of Alliance clients, and liaise with the caller before patching the call through or taking a message. Around 90% of calls our receptionists handle come from our clients’ customers, the rest are suppliers, remote team members, friends or family, and cold callers.

Occasionally, our receptionists pick up a call from a less-than-satisfied caller. Since our receptionists are the front of our clients’ businesses, it’s their job to act professionally at all times – even if the conversation starts off on the wrong foot.

Disgruntled callers

As the first point of contact for the client, our receptionists often take numerous calls from the same person or company. On the plus side, this allows our receptionists to build great rapport with frequent callers and add a more personal touch to the conversation.

However, in the case of complaints, it becomes highly unpleasant when receptionists take repeated calls from disgruntled callers over an unresolved situation between the caller and our client.

Alliance is prepared to deal with such situations through a Call Escalation Policy. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  • Complaint calls are initially handled the same as any other call – we take the caller’s name and find out who they’re trying to reach. We may ask for clarification about the problem so we can pass the details onto our client.
  • If the caller makes repeated contact and uses profanity or yells at our receptionist, the receptionist will escalate the call. When this happens, a record of the call is kept and our Customer Service Team is alerted.
  • A notification email is sent to the client with details of the call, alerting them of potential issues their company may be facing. The client is invited to discuss the situation with Alliance Virtual’s Customer Service Team, to help our receptionists understand how to handle future calls.
  • Usually, situations are resolved after the initial alert. However in some cases, the problem persists. In this case, Alliance sends out further notifications to the client, warning of the ongoing problem and its negative impact on their business and our receptionists.
  • In extreme circumstances, if no apparent effort is made to placate callers and the situation remains unresolved after numerous warnings, Alliance is prepared to terminate the client’s Live Call Answering agreement.

Ultimately, these steps are in place to protect our Live Receptionist team. Dissatisfied callers put our team in a position that can impair service levels not just for the client in question, but all of our clients, and their clients too.

Such situations are rare. Yet positively, they can have a happy ending.

Harsh words and client complaints are a sign that something is wrong, which may be the first time the company owner becomes aware of it. Or perhaps they already knew, but failed to communicate the problem to their clients in an efficient and timely manner.

Either way, the business owner – our client – can learn valuable lessons from these scenarios that will improve the way they run their business.

Shared knowledge leads to better experiences

Our receptionists are fully trained to handle all elements of their customer service role, which ranges from personalized greetings and call forwarding to appointment scheduling and responding to caller queries (plus plenty more in-between).

When your voice is the ‘face’ of the client you’re representing, constant training and improvement is imperative. As such, we learn from our team’s shared experiences, harness their wisdom and refine our procedures based on their feedback – leading to ever more friendly, more professional service.

Since we spend our days working closely and speaking with our clients’ callers and associates, this gives our clients an invaluable feedback loop through our receptionists that puts their finger on the pulse of their business performance.

It also helps the Alliance Live Receptionist team constantly tweak, improve and fine-tune our receptionist services. For us, the learning never ends. There is always a new approach, a fresh idea, and novel training methods – leading to even better service delivery.

Even in the most challenging scenarios, it’s our job and our pleasure to work with our clients to discuss challenges, smooth things over and help them get back on track. That’s a conversation we’re only too happy to have.



Want to Comment? talk to us on: Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin