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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact and data security: telephone contact: terminating the call

Occasionally you may find that you need to terminate a call. The need to do this will be rare. Wherever possible if you are dealing with a particularly difficult call you should try and pass to your manager, but there could be a few reasons you do need to terminate the call, such as

  • You are dealing with an abusive caller
  • You have explained to the customer what you require of them and discussed what they need to do and yet have been unable to come to a solution and you feel you can add nothing more to the call
  • You are dealing with a very difficult call.
  • There is an emergency in your office like a fire alarm and you need to leave the office.

No matter why you may need to terminate the call, you must warn the customer beforehand at least once and never hang up on the call without warning.

The reason for termination of the call will determine how many warnings you give to the customer. For example, if you are faced with an aggressive customer you should attempt to calm the customer down first and warn the customer that if their behaviour doesn’t improve then you may have to terminate the call. If they continue to be aggressive and despite attempting to calm them down you’ve been unable to, then you should tell the customer that you will now terminate the call.

However if you need to terminate the call because of a situation in your immediate surroundings, such as a fire alarm, then you should tell the customer you must terminate the call and you will return the call to them once you can return to your desk.

After the call you should note the record accordingly. If you have to leave the building you should leave your note until you return but securely lock your workstation. The notes on the record must reflect accurately the call and the reason for termination.

For accurate noting guidance, see DMBM900500.