Let’s not kid ourselves – we don’t always feel like talking on the phone. There are many reasons why.
We have some important piece of business, we are on the road, we have some time for family or friends. That’s explicable.
But there is a category of phone calls in which the main cause to hang up early lies somewhere else. It shows up when a customer has a business talk with calling agents.
What is it? It’s the attitude of our caller and his preparation for a call.
A customer can be discouraged easily if an agent doesn’t listen to him. He gets no human face and worn-out slogans. It’s like expecting Bugatti Veyron and getting an old, rusty bicycle.
Basic research before a call isn’t a high expectation. A customer feels appreciated once he hears something about his previous purchases, current affairs, etc. Personalized conversations can make miracles.
This craft is call handling. I’ll explain it little by little in this article.
I’ll start with a definition of this activity. You’ll find out what call handling is.
You’ll also have a complete answer on whether you should introduce call handling in your business.
Then, I’ll take matters a bit further by giving 5 steps for successful call handling. I mean, what you should do to engage your customer in the conversation and make a good impression.
There will also be an introduction to the solution to improve call handling in your business. I guarantee that your employees can get familiar with it in a blink of an eye.
Be ready to see a complete picture of the idea. So, without further ado, let’s start!
Table of contents:
What is call handling
Call handling is the detailed process of managing all phone calls within your company. By all, I mean both inbound and outbound calls.
Both types of calls have their advantages. With the outbound ones, an agent is the one who starts the call, therefore he knows exactly who he calls and what information he wants to convey.
He has some time to prepare the most important points and make a conversation in which he includes them all.
With inbound ones, it’s seemingly a lottery, you never know what will be the subject of a conversation. But, you can answer more calls daily and resolve problems more efficiently.
You might assume that a customer won’t call you to talk about the disappointing ending of his favorite TV show.
I mean, you can specify the scope of problems that are addressed the most frequently. As you have all answers prepared, things get easy.
No matter the character of a call, the goal is still the same: building a good reputation and gaining customer trust.
You need to make sure that you take into consideration as many aspects of a call as possible. It’s not only about the conversation itself, it relates to a technical side, too.
I’ll name some questions that need your answer, so you can have a successful call handling.
- How your business manages many calls at the same time?
- Do your customers wait long until the call starts?
- How is the narrative of your agents received?
- Are your customers connected with the desired department straight away?
- Do they receive the right information?
If you’re not satisfied with any answer to these questions, you know there’s room for improvement. In the following paragraphs, I’ll give you the keys to this room.
Why your business needs call handling
There’s no point in debating whether or not your employees should be trained with call handling skills. Better ask yourself when you should start doing it.
It’s because the phone remains popular. The study conducted by Ruby says that 65% of customers perceive calling the companies as the most reliable way of service. If it works well in your business, you are halfway to success.
Well-trained agents are always prepared to resolve any problem they face. As soon as they add customer empathy to that, there comes a perfect combination.
I think the best way to appreciate the potential of call handling is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Believe me, sometimes these shoes are way too tight.
Imagine you are constantly moved from one line to another. The agent spends too much time looking for the right solution to your problem. Silence is the most frequent answer to your questions.
I bet you are likely to lose your temper and hang up the phone early. These are unwanted situations that are under the label of poor customer service.
So, it’s better to provide your agents with detailed training, so they are well-prepared for solving random problems. The goal is to let them take everything calmly and always know what to do.
This is how professional proactive customer service appears. OK, try to wear your customer’s shoes once again.
The agent makes you feel welcome from the very beginning. He asks you about the problem and comes up with a solution immediately. By the way, he refers to the history of the customer relationship, so you feel like you get an individual service.
You feel appreciated, you get what you want in less than a minute, you are sure that you can rely on the business. These shoes are much more comfortable, aren’t they?
Here I present 5 steps to make your customers wear made-to-measure shoes.
Call handling: 5 steps to make it successful
1. Pick up the phone quickly
It’s nice to call some random company and feel like someone has been waiting for a call.
This is a unique customer experience and this company is not “random” anymore. It gets more trusted and recognizable.
What is more, this activity doesn’t require secret ninja skills. All your agent needs to do is to answer every call after no more than 3 rings. I bet he can do it without training, it’s genetic.
2. Talk nicely and be specific
Of course, picking up the phone is not everything. After the quick answer, there’s no time for silence, stuttering, or interrupting each other.
This is why your agent needs to establish the framework of a conversation. The best way to achieve it is to welcome the customer nicely, preferably by their name, and move straight to questions about the reason for a call.
Nodding your head and one-syllable words are not enough to express yourself constructively. Make sure your agents’ speeches are clear and well-spoken.
As a result, you get a positive reception. Your customer can sit in the evening by his fireplace, smoke a pipe, and recall the conversation with true love.
This is what professional customer service is all about.
3. Treat everyone individually
However, even the nicest and the most comprehensive words may sound like a learned, impersonal formula.
They are great for the start of a talk, but it’s great to lean towards the specific client as it goes. How to do it?
Let’s start with the majority of calls – the inbound ones.
When a call comes from your customer, he is more likely to know your product and probably he has some doubts or requests. Your task is to clarify everything.
This is when a well-organized internal knowledge base is irreplaceable. Your agent should have quick access to information like your customer’s name, purchase history, or call recordings.
Asking for a moment of patience, quick check, and we know where we stand. It should be this way.
It works like a toolbox to build a unique customer relationship. Your caller feels like the agent knows him to an acceptable level.
As mentioned, this is the attitude that is comfortable for everyone.
With outbound calls, the task is a bit easier. The agent has more time to prepare, analyze the data, and find starting points for a productive conversation.
There’s one checked method to have an individual attitude towards customers, no matter the character of a call. It’s a data-driven phone system that provides you with all you need. I’ll move to that after dos and don’ts.
4. Come up with a clear summary
OK, the answer was quick, the conversation went perfectly, both sides are pleased with the result. It’s time to wrap it up.
It’s always good for the agent to have a piece of paper at hand, so he can write down the important parts of the conversation. Wait a second. You know what? You can throw this piece of paper away.
There are CRM systems where you can note all touchpoints of your relationship with a specific customer. One click and you have them all, so you know exactly what to refer to.
The method doesn’t matter – neutral bullet points, the division into pluses and minuses, everything is allowed.
In the end, it’s great to turn these notes into a summary for your customer, so he can recall everything. It can only improve the quality of your customer service.
5. End the call with some style
Oh, and one more thing. After the summary, it’s nice to ask if there’s anything more you can do for your customer.
This is how you make sure that problems have been addressed properly and there is nothing left.
If the answer is ‘yes’, here we go again with all the steps of call handling to provide special service. It’s great to be stable and consistent. OK, you can skip the first step. You already picked up the phone, didn’t you?
If the answer is ‘no’, thank your customer, assure him that he may call you anytime he wants, and say goodbye.
Here we have an easy framework of a conversation. It’s a shame that there are still customer services that refuse to follow these simple instructions.
It can only work to your advantage – you know exactly what to do. Now, I’ll show you great support to call handling in your business.
How to improve call handling even more
As I mentioned in the paragraph about treating every customer personally, there’s one tool that can make your task much easier. It’s a data-driven phone system. Channels is the best example.
First of all, you receive all the information about your customer, during both inbound and outbound calls. It means that breaking the ice has become just a formality.
It’s because you know their names and the history of transactions. You can also listen again to previous conversations as you have them recorded.
Your customer will feel appreciated when he gets the reference to his positive experience with your company. This is how you create a special customer relationship.
OK, but this is just one of many features provided to you by Channels.
There is also a Web Call, so your customers don’t need to waste time looking for a phone number to the right department of your company. They can call you with one click straight from their browser.
It’s yet another feature leading straight to the strengthening of your position on the market. Don’t worry, customers will spread the good word and more and more people will come to check it out.
With Channels, you can also activate a two-way SMS helpline. I know, I said that many people prefer phone contact, but there’s also a strong group of the ones who like to write messages. You can meet the expectations of both camps easily.
Do you still want more? Here we go – integrations with platforms like Shopify, Magento, Hubspot, Pipedrive, Zapier, Zendesk, and more all also on the table.
Plus, you can have many types of phone numbers, such as international, toll-free, 800, virtual, and more.
Check it all!
Call handling is the way to make all sides happy
It’s the clear solution. Your customers are served professionally and they know they can count on you whenever they need you.
On the other hand, you and your business have the customer service covered perfectly. Then, you can focus on current affairs, such as upgrading your offer, launching business partnerships, etc.
Of course, these are the 5 steps to make your call handling run like clockwork. They are the basis of success. Update it as you wish.
You can always improvise and introduce your ideas. Your business grows at an incredible rate, so I’d love to meet your view on the matter.
Take advantage of my guidelines and share your questions and opinions. Let’s discuss the subject thoroughly. Feel free to contact me!