… hang up (!) or get “off topic”.
Just occasionally, phone calls can get way off track. The customer argues, gets unreasonable and tempers start to fray.
In other words, communication is breaking down. If that ever happens to you, try one, or both, of these methods.
In NLP terms, they’re both pattern interrupts.
Try the old “Hey. Look at that over there” trick. Distraction.
Works really well with children and animals. Works equally well with aggressive debtors too.
Get their mind off the dispute or situation by raising an entirely different topic with them. Preferably something that interests them.
Talk off the topic that got them all hot and bothered. Then, return to it very briefly for a moment or two and then back off the topic again.
An entirely unrelated topic altogether. Keep repeating this on/off process. It will wear them down and they will become more reasonable.
A simple phrase to use is “Sorry to interrupt, but can I ask you something quickly?”
If that doesn’t work – hang up the phone, mid-sentence.
Just push down the button. (Be sure to keep talking for a second or two after you’ve pressed the button so that the broken connection sounds like a genuine line fault, and not your fault, that they’ve been disconnected.)
Then, call them straight back – immediately. Blame the phone company – “faulty connection” – then resume where you left off.
The time that it takes you to get back to them will totally interrupt their thinking and those valuable stolen moments allows them time to re-adjust their manner.
They are now very likely to be a lot more reasonable with you when you do call them back.
(You can only do this one time to any one customer of course. Might become a bit obvious if you keep repeating the exercise!)
By way of example … A mental patient kept claiming he was Jesus until one psychiatrist came back with a cross and nails and suggested it was time for the crucifixion.