How to Deal with Escalation in Call Centers? Best Practices for

escalation in call centers

Everyone knows that it is usual for call centers to have situations where customers need more help. These moments are really important for one main reason. Handling challenges can make a positive impression or break relationships with clients. So, they need to know how best to deal with these tricky situations.

This blog will consider why calls get escalated in call centers. It includes all the usual reasons behind it and its effects on both customer happiness and how others see your business. We’ll also cover all you need to get ready to manage these situations well.

The Nectar Desk team has prepared steps on handling escalated calls effectively with top tips and practices. All of them help fix customer issues fast while making sure their overall experience is as good as possible. Following these guidelines, call centers can reduce bad impact of escalations and provide super professional customer service.

What is a Call Center Escalation?

It is when the first person on the line can’t solve the issue and there begins call escalation. So, this means the customer gets passed along to someone else who knows more about fixing problems. Sometimes, this happens because the first agent doesn’t have enough info, tools, or power to sort things out.

There are mainly two ways to reduce escalations. The first one is hierarchical where the issue goes up the ranks until it finds someone with enough influence and experience. The second one is functional call escalation. It is when employees find someone specifically skilled in dealing with that specific problem.

Common Reasons for Escalated Calls

In contact centers, calls often go to higher levels for a few main reasons. It is significant to get to know why this happens. This understanding helps to work on making things better and cut down on escalated calls. Here’s what usually causes tricky situations:

  • When customers have issues that are complex to handle for the first person they talk.
  • If people have been waiting too long to sort out their problems. So, they might get upset and ask for someone higher up.
  • Sometimes customer questions are so tricky or detailed. Thus, only someone with more knowledge or power can deal with them properly.
  • And if there’s something really serious that the first agent can’t fix right away.

The Impact of Escalation on Customer Satisfaction and Your Business

When calls get moved up the chain, it is vital how a company handles them. If customers think their problems aren’t being sorted out quickly or well enough, they might start feeling frustrated. This can lead to bad feedback about your service. So, you will lose customers over time, and harm the company’s good name.

On the other side, if a business is on top of managing these escalated issues and fixes them fast, this can make customers more loyal and positive. This approach will show that you care about delivering great customer service. Thus, contact centers will keep a brilliant reputation.

The Negative Effect on Customer Relationships

Call centers often can not fix problems on the first try. It influences customer’s attitude toward their service and overall experience. If a client has to keep calling back because their problem isn’t sorted out right away, they start to get annoyed. This situation makes them trust the company less since they don’t see them as being able to help effectively. Also, if there’s more than one escalation when it should have been solved easily, customers might think about the call center’s inability to get things done right. 

So, it is important to solve problems from the get-go in order to keep things smooth with customers. Only in a such way, you will build strong trust and build long-lasting relationships. You can also read how to deal with angry customers efficiently.

The High Cost of Poor Escalation Management

When contact centers don’t handle escalations well, it can to big expenses. Escalations mean that calls have to be passed on to higher-level support. So, it takes more time and increases the average handle time. This makes the call center less efficient and productive, raising operational costs at the same time.

On top of that, if these issues aren’t fixed properly, customers might leave and spread negative feedback. As a result, reducing the call center’s earnings and success. However, by dealing with escalations better through investing in good strategies and tools, they can cut down on call processing time. This approach towards managing escalations effectively improves operations while keeping costs low for better overall results at the call center.

Key Things to Manage Call Escalation

To handle tough situations well, the contact center must have the right setup. This means you need to have good tools, help, and ways of resolutions. All of these help to deal with difficult calls quickly and without much trouble.

In general, it’s key to have an escalation matrix set up, keep a detailed knowledge base updated, and use special software for call centers. It will make managing these escalations smoother. Investing money into these vital parts provides readiness to support customers in the best way.

Needed Tools and Resources

  • Call center software: This is important for managing challenging calls smoothly. It helps agents keep track of customer chats, look up important customer details, and pass on calls to more experienced support representatives easily.
  • Internal knowledge base: Agents must have easy access to an internal database. It must be filled with current info on products, services, and common issues customers face. With this at their fingertips, they can solve problems quickly and accurately.
  • Contact center resources: For really tricky or complex issues, call centers need extra help from experts or specialized teams who know exactly how to deal with these challenges.

With these key pieces at hand — call center software, a reliable internal knowledge base, and additional contact center resources—call centers can boost productivity. So, this definitely will provide the required top-notch assistance.

Call Escalation Matrix

Using a call escalation matrix is a vital step in effective escalation management. It provides a structured framework. So, agents can follow that when faced with an issue beyond their scope of knowledge or authority. The matrix defines the paths and criteria for escalating calls in a contact center. It provides calls transferring to the appropriate higher level of support based on expertise and decision-making power. If you are not sure that the agent will follow the matrix correctly, you can use the Call Whispering feature. This feature allows supervisors to communicate privately with agents during live calls without the customer hearing the conversation. 

By setting up a call escalation matrix, call centers can optimize the escalation process. Thus, appropriate people will handle calls and improve overall resolution rates for escalated issues.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Deal with Escalation in Call Centers

Step 1: Identifying the Escalation in Advance

The first thing to do when you handle escalations is to spot them right away. It’s important for frontline agents. They need to know how to pick out problems that need more attention and figure out if a customer should be passed up the chain. Catching these issues early is key because it helps fix customer problems faster and stops things from getting complicated.

Early spotting works brilliantly during good dialogue between the agents and customers. Agents should carefully listen to the concern. They should dig deeper by asking questions that get at the heart of the issue, and then decide if it needs escalating. With an eye for catching escalations quickly, call centers can help customers promptly and properly which makes them happier.

Step 2: Using Active Listening and Empathy

It is vital to be good at active listening and showing empathy, especially when things go wrong. Active listening means you’re totally focused on what the customer is saying, you’re paying close attention to their problems, and making sure they know you get it. This can make the situation less heated and lead to a nicer dialogue.

Showing empathy is just as important because you try to understand how the customer feels about their issue. You can use kind words to demonstrate that you care about them. By using both active listening and empathy, agents are able to calm down tense situations, build trust with customers, and find solutions more effectively.

Step 3: Following the Escalation Protocol

When things get tricky at call centers, agents need to know the steps for solving a problem. Basically, if they can not manage with it, there should be a clear game plan. This usually means passing the call over to someone higher up or maybe even a team that knows exactly how to handle these tough situations. It’s key for agents not just to pass the issue but also to let customers know why their call is being moved and what happens next. They need to follow the protocol to be sure that the right person will provide appropriate resolution.

Step 4: Resolving the Issue and Following Up

Once you’ve figured out what’s bothering the customer, the next move is to sort it out and then check back in with them. Sorting means saying sorry through some form of compensation, or doing whatever is needed to make things right. Throughout this whole process, we keep talking to the customer and give them a clear idea of when they can expect.

Following up is important for making sure customers are happy and don’t have any worries or questions. You can keep in touch using a phone call, an email, or whichever way works best for them. The main aim here is to show that you’ve really listened, customers matter a lot to your call center, and you’ve taken care of their problems properly.

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Practical Tips for De-escalation in Call Centers

In call centers, there are some really cool ways to make sure customers and agents get along better. These methods include teaching agents some special skills and using smart tech to help out.

With predictive routing, smart algorithms look at how customers have behaved in past calls to guess their moods and needs. This way, calls can be sent directly to the agent who’s best equipped for that particular situation. It cuts down on having too many people trying to fix one problem because it gets sorted faster.

For agent training in these top-notch de-escalation tactics, there’s a whole set of detailed training sessions. Agents get to practice with tough customer scenarios. So, they become more confident and skilled at calming things down before they get out of hand. This leads not only to happier customers but also improves how well problems are solved right from the star

Utilize AI and Machine Learning for Predictive Assistance

AI and machine learning are an integral part of stopping calls from getting bumped up the chain. These tools give call center agents information on what might happen next. With intelligent call routing, AI explores how customers talk, what they’ve felt during past calls, and their history with your call center. Thus, it helps to make sure they end up talking to the agent best suited for their needs. You can read how AI helps call centers reduce costs and improve efficiency.

By looking at old data and spotting trends that usually lead to trouble, machine learning helps us get ahead of issues before they blow up. Knowing why things tend to escalate lets call centers fix problems early.

So, using AI and machine learning not only makes our work at call centers smoother but also keeps customers happier. Moreover, cutting down costs. It’s all about smartly directing each caller from the start and reducing potential problems through better preparation.

Improve Agent Skills with Role-Playing and Simulation Training

Role-playing and simulation training are great ways to teach call center agents how to calm down tense situations. With role-playing, agents get to act out different customer scenarios. This lets them work on their talking and problem-solving skills in a safe space. It’s all about building up their confidence. So they can deal with difficult conversations more effectively.

These simulations create very real-like situations that mirror what happens with actual customers. Whether it’s through virtual reality or computer programs that mimic the call center setting, agents find themselves right in the middle of realistic interactions. So, they learn firsthand how to manage heated calls with both professionalism and kindness.

When you put together comprehensive training programs that include both these methods—role-playing and simulation—it really amps up the ability of agents to cool down hot conversations better than before.

Monitor Key Metrics

Keeping an eye on and always making the process of dealing with escalated calls better is key for call centers to manage these situations well. Exploring analytics helps to improve working performance and your service. In a such way call centers can update training stuff, apply new technologies, or give more help to their team.

Additionally, using tools for analyzing data from calls, you can see patterns of why some calls get heated. Understanding why this happens lets call centers come up with plans to stop such problems before they start.

Provide Continuous Training and Feedback

Managers should make sure their teams are always ready to de-escalate calls, listen well, understand others’ feelings, and talk clearly. Thus, the team knows how to handle tricky talks without making them worse.

Also, managers need to check their agents regularly. They can do this by looking over their work closely from time to time or sitting down one-on-one. It is significant to advise on how best to manage challenging conversations with customers. For instance, Nectar Desk provides a Call Barging feature. This feature allows supervisors or managers to join an ongoing call between an agent and a customer without disrupting the conversation. Thus, your advice will be practical for each agent separately.

Following a plan of ongoing training and open communication about performance contact centers can maintain good customer satisfaction levels.


When things get heated in call centers, it’s important to spot problems in advance. Also, your agents should be able to listen carefully to what people are saying, stick to the rules, and sort things out quickly. Different tools and setting up clear plans are integral parts of calming down tense situations. Don’t forget to pay attention to analytics and it helps managers to make informed decisions. All these tips and advice will take your service to the next level and improve customer experience.

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