Proactive Telephone Skills


1 day


This is a 1 day, fast moving, activity based personal development workshop aimed at supporting delegates to be highly effective in handling difficult and challenging inbound & outbound calls.

The workshop increases understanding and clarity of particular challenges caused for customers and staff when communicating by phone. Delegates will learn key skills to maintain order and control and to de-escalate the behaviour of distressed and angry callers. Delegates will also learn coping strategies to use during and after a particularly challenging call.

Workshop objectives

By the end of this workshop, delegates will be able to:

  1. Take pro-active action that will enable them to demonstrate greater empathy when dealing with victim emotions and behaviours.

  2. Take control and lead conversations competently whilst gathering information and building confidence.

  3. Develop clarity around the important and less important factors of handling the call.

  4. Maintain a professional and credible stance, whilst safeguarding the company’s integrity.

Who will the programme benefit?

This programme is designed for professionals in all functional areas of the organisation who are charged with interacting with customers on the telephone and need to collaborate with those customers to alleviate a difficult or challenging personal situation developing for that customer.

Individuals who wish to up-skill their interpersonal skills, specifically in building rapport, problem solving and listening will find this programme of particular benefit.

Pre-course work

Delegates will be asked to identify the types of telephone interactions they have with customers, both inbound and outbound, on a regular basis. This information will be used to determine the various opportunities open to apply improved standards.

Programme Overview:

The Five Steps To Success - We will explore in some detail the Five Steps to Success and identify ways in which we can offer a positive contribution to improved standards:

Handling Difficult and Angry Customers - We will examine ways in which to defuse and calm those who are angry or difficult on the telephone.

The Five Principles of Effective Call Handling - During this section we will examine the top five principles to adopt in a proactive professional telephone based operation.

Defining the Challenge:

  • Understanding what triggers aggression

  • Understanding the impact of 'Red Rag' words and phrases

  • Controlling our voice and reactions

  • Recognising the stages of conflict escalation

  • Managing conflict 'flashpoints'

  • Understanding our natural response to conflict

Developing Rapport & Empathy:

  • Understanding patterns of behaviour unique to communicating by phone

  • Acknowledging difficulties and customer emotions

  • Staying in control of the call

Managing Conflict:

  • Structuring difficult telephone conversations

  • Listening and calming the situation

  • Handling difficult or abusive behaviour

  • Concluding angry phone calls

Managing the negative impact of an angry phone call:

  • Understanding the negative impact from angry phone calls

  • Unique skills to manage our stress levels

  • De-briefing after a difficult call

  • Saying ‘No’ effectively.

Review, Action Planning & Close


Timings: 9am to 5pm for the day

Number of participants: We can accommodate up to 12 participants during each 1 day programme

Cybèle team: 1 trainer for the day

Equipment needed: Training room large enough to house 12 people comfortably with space for smaller group work and room to move around. Also 2 x flipcharts & paper; projector and screen please.

Programme materials: Will be supplied by Cybèle including joining instructions for distribution in advance of the programme.