Disengaging is a technique most often used with a difficult or aggressive customer. It has several purposes: it serves to temporarily halt a conversation that’s getting increasingly emotional and unpleasant,and it’s used if a conversation is going around in circles.
Disengaging means taking a break from the interaction to allow both parties to calm down or think more clearly so that,when the conversation resumes, it’s more like a “fresh start.” In a situation where the conversation isn’t likely to result in success,offer a reason to stop and resume in a minute or two or after an even longer interlude. For example, you might say, “Mr. Smith, let me take a minute to check your file,” and then suspend the conversation while you go check.
You can also take the more direct approach, as follows: “Mr. Smith,maybe we both need a break so we can approach this fresh.How about if we resume this discussion tomorrow? We can set up a time that’s convenient.”
This technique can be used in person and on the phone. Disengaging is similar to using “Timeout.”A timeout is used to allow the customer to calm down by giving him or her an opportunity to be alone. Disengaging is a conversation break that doesn’t require the customer to be alone.