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I was just involved in a situation where a customer called me *ucking stupid. wow.

I work at an insurance agency. Insured called and asked for my name. He then proceeded to say "you are fucking stupid" twice. I haven't interacted with this customer in over a year. Our company recently had a rate increase. He's probably mad about the situation.

I was dumbfounded and couldn't respond and just hung up. In case this happens in the future, how should I react?

edited for context

44 comments
92% Upvoted
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(P&C/L&H AZ,USA)
42 points · 4 months ago

/r/insurancepros

When people cuss at me I tell them "Sir/Ma'am if we are going to continue this conversation you will need to be professional, with that being said, how can I help you?"

and if they curse at me again "Unfortunately you have decided to end the conversation, have a wonderful day."

CA:P&C
Original Poster7 points · 4 months ago

Thanks, that's helpful

(P&C/L&H AZ,USA)
5 points · 4 months ago

You're welcome. Just always remember they don't know you, you don't owe them anything outside of what your contract dictates. If you go above and beyond for some one make sure they are worth it.

Gotta love those special people who prove to you that they are not the ones to go above and beyond for.

(P&C/L&H AZ,USA)
5 points · 4 months ago

I typically weed em out in the quote process so they don't make my book. I do get tricked every once in a while though.

Have a blessed day is my go to fukka you.

If this is the worst you hear in your instance career, you’re extremely lucky.

That was my favorite part of the job (auto claims). Broke up the monotony.

Auto Bodily Injury Adjuster
3 points · 4 months ago

Seriously. I laugh at those calls now. I still disconnect the line but I'm laughing when I do it.

Same. It's cute that they think screaming at me is going to get them what they want. This is not a "customer is always right" kind of industry.

Auto Adjuster - my posts are my opinion only.
1 point · 4 months ago

I put them on mute, wait for them to stop, count to fine, and then after realizing that I'm still there listen to their apologies.

Western U.S. Auto/BI Adjuster
16 points · 4 months ago

Welcome to life on the claims side

Man I don't envy you guys at all. I'm on the sales / field underwriting side and if someone cussed at me like that I'd tell them to get fucked so quick their head would spin, agent or insured.

Funny, for the most part, as an Adjuster, people are happy to see me and are always 100% honest and cooperative.

People are always happy to see me too, but I'm the guy who gives you the price on your insurance.

I suppose as far as claims adjusters go, it's going to depend on what company you work for. Some claimants go in to the claims process thinking that it's the adjusters job to deny the claim or to screw them out of money, and they might be right depending on what company they're dealing with.

Some claimants go in to the claims process thinking that it's the adjusters job to deny the claim or to screw them out of money

Nope, all of them do. It is up to us to show them that this is not the case, and to act and perform accordingly. It is a matter of setting realistic expectations and making sure the claimant understands the process and the policy limitations and exclusions.

They don't all. People who buy Chubb and Cincinnati understand what they're paying for.

If you buy "the general" you're getting what you pay for.

true story.

18 points · 4 months ago

I work health Insurance and that’s my favorite, if you hear a cuss word directed at you, give a warning. Second time, hang up.

CA:P&C
Original Poster3 points · 4 months ago

Thanks

The companies I've worked for you can't hang up. I like a good argument so it's never bothered me. I'll prove them wrong or apologize if it's Our mistake.

Claims Adjuster
1 point · 4 months ago

We sort of have that rule where I work but they dont enforce it much.

I usually tell the person "sir/mam Im sorry but were arguing in circles here. if there is anything else you would like to discuss or you have further questions Id be happy to assist you, however otherwise Im going to have to disconnect. when you are ready to discuss the matter further please give me a call back"

Ive also found raising your voice doesnt work, lowering it however does.

I had a guy friday lose his shit at the bodyshop over bs..told him to hang on 5 mins and the manager would be with him. that wasnt good enough till I got a bit loud. yelling at us will not accomplish anything.

Yea I don't raise my voice. I've always had good luck with customers not losing their shit. And have never hung up on anyone

Claims Adjuster
2 points · 4 months ago

I think my issue is sooo many people are just so stupid that their existence baffles me.

[I'm not in insurance, but I am a customer service ninja]

I like the "Sir/Ma'am if we are going to continue this conversation you will need to be professional, with that being said, how can I help you?" tactic.

BUT - I usually start with empathy. "I'm sorry you feel that way, I know how frustrating rate increases are, I've had one recently, myself. How can I help you today?" (and, if you are allowed to, maybe brainstorm on helping them reduce their rates). That will de-escalate the customer at least 75% of the time.

Then if the cursing continues, I'd move on to the "let's keep this professional" and eventually the "I'm disconnecting this call" script.

Really, though, your employer should be directing and training you on how to handle these situations. There is no reason for you to take cursing and abuse being hurled at you, but your employer should dictate the way you handle these incidents.

Auto Bodily Injury Adjuster
4 points · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

drunkryan is so right.

OP, do NOT put up with that kind of language or behavior from a customer.

Most of the time I give them one warning before disconnecting the call. But if they are foul enough, they don't get even that.

You are not paid to be abused.

If they want you to pay their claim they will calm down. And if their claim has been denied, then talking to them further is a waste of your time.

But yea, get used to it.

You will deal with three kinds of people.

  1. People who are assholes

  2. People who are so stupid you don't know how they function on a daily basis

  3. Nice people

Claims Adjuster
2 points · 4 months ago

You will deal with three kinds of people.

  1. People who are assholes

  2. People who are so stupid you don't know how they function on a daily basis

  3. Nice people

Yep.. I still cant figure out how person number 2 exists and hasnt died from their stupidity They are just that stupid.

BI Adjuster (MA, ME, NH, VT)
4 points · 4 months ago

At this point I operate under the assumption that all claimants are number 2

Claims Adjuster
2 points · 4 months ago

I dont think your wrong..

You must be new.

I have only been taking calls for about a month and it doesn't get any better. Just be confident and take control of the call.

I'm late to he party, but this reminds me of the first person who made me cry when I started.

I started in insurance when I was 18 and had previously worked in a small community where everyone was amazingly nice and paitent.

I had just called on a non-pay reminder. The guy (who was my age) returned the call screaming cuss words and threatening to harm me. I had never experienced that type of behavior that I literally sobbed an apology. I excused myself and totally balled my eyes out.

Now, I work for my dad who is the agent. He sees me in this mess and is immediately concerned. Turns out, this asshole is the son of one of my dad's best clients and also good friend who helped dad start his agency. My dad calls the asshole's dad immediately and says "As a father, I'm disappointed. We have been through so much. As your agent, I'm letting you know that I will not tolerate my staff being treated in this manor."

Mr. Client immediately apologizes and marches his son up to the office to personally apologize to me and pay his bill. Mr. Client brought me flowers. It turned out to be a good day.

OP, don't take shit from anyone. You are human too. Hopefully, your manager has your back.

I’m glad to hear your situation ended up like that! That’s fantastic!

In my experience though, managers only ever have their own back.

Indy MO P&C
2 points · 4 months ago

I’ll fight a dude.

WA,OR, ID: P&C, L
2 points · 4 months ago

I usually say something along the lines of, "Wow that was mean, was it necessary? "

Them, Well my rates went up 😭

Me, Did you call and yell at someone at the main company cuz that might be why. /s

By this point the fact that im zero percent fazed by their shinangins usually has them calmed down and ready to really talk.

The only time you should hang up on a customer is when they start cussing. You don’t need to listen to that.

Write down what you will say if it happens again. Something along the lines of, “Sir/mam, if you continue using profanity and insult towards me, I will have to disconnect the line.”

Then the ball is on their court, I’ve had responses that says “fuck you” to get the last word and beep, call ended. That’s their choice.

If they say “then stop being incompetent.” Then that’s what you need to figure out on what your manager wants you to say.

Yeah, i like this response. Definitely consult with your manager on a proper response.

My bosses allow a disconnect after a second insuly of any kind. Swearing or not, subtle or not, if they’re directly insulting us they allow us to disconnect after warning.

CA:P&C
Original Poster1 point · 4 months ago

Thanks, that's helpful

"Sir, if you continue to speak to me in this manner i'll hang the phone up." Sternly. No other words, just that. If it continues, hang up and document the reason for hanging up on an insured. If it stops, move on and forget it.

Just my opinion.

I've had that job before. I've been there. Hang in there, if you like your job then thus won't matter in the long run, and if you don't like you job then use this to motivate yourself to get to a place where you don't have to take this type of verbal abuse.

Either way, it sounds like you handled it professionally. And for the record, that customer is nasty and clueless.

"Sir/Ma'am, I've very sorry but I can't continue to try and help you if you insist on being rude. Please refrain from using that type of language." If they continue: "I'm sorry you felt that I couldn't help you today and wanted to disconnect this call. Please have a nice day." Hang up and document.

If it's a small office, I suggest letting your Manager/Supervisor know so they can handle the next call the customer will generally make.

Then remember that they are probably having a bad day and you were handy to take it out on. When I've used this approach, I usually get a much more subdued call by the end of the day with an apology.

I know a lot of people who take the route where they’ll tell a customer that they are going to hang up if they swear like that. Or there’s a lot of people that start off by apologizing. I hate both personally. one is too confrontational and guarantees the caller escalates their temper, the other admits fault and the caller escalates.

Personally I like to start with empathy. Something like “I understand that this is a frustrating situation, but I am here to help you, so what can I do for you today.”

They will usually ask some crazy demand at this point that you can’t do, so be honest. “I get that’s what you are wanting right now, but that’s not an option that’s available right now. Here’s what I can do for you” and give them their best one or two options.

This way requires a fair amount of confidence to get the customer to work with you, but that’s really the goal. To get them to work with you long enough to accomplish something for them, even if all you are doing is telling them no.

Just remember that your angry customer has the Google and Facebook review tool at their fingertips, so they can say and do whatever they want without any repercussion and if you react the way we all want to, you risk a public review that you can’t reverse. I had a guy write a bad review of my agency because he didn’t get his quote back within his unannounced 2 hour expectation. I then get to passive aggressively apologize to him on MY Facebook Business page.

I mean, have you tried being less *ucking stupid?

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