Despite the growing forms of communication available and online order processing, seven out of ten people still prefer to use the phone when contacting a business. Therefore, your call handling procedures need to be effective and as stress free as possible.

Here are our 5 top tips for effective call handling.

Have Clear Communication Goals

In order to be effective, you need to have an understanding on how to handle the different types of calls your business received and put in place performance measures, e.g answer 85% of incoming calls, encourage 30% more promotion sales, or resolve 30% more complaint calls. Every member of your business needs to understand how each call is to be handled, and how to push those sales without being pushy. This way everyone is speaking from the same sheet, and customers do not get confused by information provided to them by different members of staff.

Encourage self-service options to reduce wait times

A good telephone system can provide callers with a short message advising of alternative options, such as looking online for frequently asked questions or an automated payment system. An Auto Attendant system allows callers to select the department they require, reducing the amount of specialist calls going through to general customer service agents. Reducing the amount of simple calls taken can increase the time allowed for those complicated calls that require more time, while keeping the wait times down.

Manage Peak Times

First thing in the morning, 11:30am till 1pm, and again after 6pm are the busiest times for a customer service centre, are they the same for you? Call Logging software will give you the facts on your busy times as well as how quickly you answer the phone and if you’re missing any calls. Good staff management will ensure that during these times there are enough staff members to handle the increase in calls.

The best staff to use are those that are cross-trained in various departmental information, and IT systems. Calls can then be automatically transferred via a hunt group feature to a quiet extension to reduce wait times while still providing a knowledgeable service.

Monitor and learn

Usually when you call a customer service line you get the message that calls are being recorded for training purposes. It is an essential tool that can help improve your current call handling practises. No one call is ever the same, and therefore they do not always follow a scripted plan. By monitoring phone calls a more real life situation can be used to teach new agents and better prepare them for the role.

Monitoring calls can also help determine how efficient agents are, and if there are ways in which the auto attendant can be improved to better direct calls before reaching the general customer service agents. It can also help provide content for your website to better help customers before they reach for the phone.

Be prepared ahead of the call

Save time requesting details for returning customers by engaging in the use of caller ID and screen popping software. When a call comes in to an individual station the number, as well as their customer details will automatically pop up on the screen. This saves frustrating clients, especially if you need to transfer them to a different department as they do not need to repeat their details every time.

If their call is regarding an on-going issue and notes have been made, your agent can quickly revise the notes with the caller before redirecting to a specialist, saving time and clearing them for another call.

Many of the services involved in creating effective call handling procedures require a suitable phone system to handle the additional services – Caller ID, Auto Attendant, Call Logging, Hunt Group etc. So, if you want to improve your call handling, get in touch with LTS to determine the suitability of your line and to upgrade you if needed.