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Despite the popularity of live chat and email, the phone remains the customer of choice and is often the root cause of poor customer experience. As a business owner, you often spend time managing your business. You may not have time to answer all the incoming calls yourself.
And whether you have a dedicated receptionist or everyone in your office is responsible for answering calls, every employee should know and follow basic call-handling best practices.
Employees are often not trained to manage calls professionally. Too often, people make very simple mistakes when answering calls that can seriously impact their business. Here are some effective tips for handling customer calls in your business:
Provide Follow Ups Through Other Communication Channels
Follow-ups can have a great impact on improving customer satisfaction and growing your business. It is important to follow up with the callers after the call. It is best to collect information on how you can contact them later, such as through emails or messaging platforms.
Train your staff and provide a system that captures the name, phone number, and email address of every prospect who calls you, so they know how to contact them in the future. It can be helpful to ask the callers about their preferred communication channel. Providing several follow-up channels will help ensure customers receive the best help with their issues.
Communicate in a Light and Friendly Tone
Employees should maintain a positive attitude when talking to customers. Even if the caller isn’t friendly, it is best to speak in a calm and easy tone. Ensure you train your agents to emulate your business values and brand tone by maintaining a friendly and approachable demeanor on the phone.
Customers ask for help with various issues, and it is important to provide solutions without seeming rude. Things can get heated, but call handlers should always keep their cool so that the issue is handled properly and things don’t get worse.
Set Quality Standards
Employees must be professional, respectful, and courteous throughout their interactions with callers. It is essential to adhere to predefined quality standards when dealing with customers. Employees should conduct the conversation professionally and align it with the company’s values and goals. Call managers can listen to customer call recordings and check the quality of customer service.
Practice Active and Attentive Listening
Active and attentive listening skills help your business stand out from the crowd. Employees should actively and attentively listen to callers, regardless of the customer’s problem. In addition to recognizing the issue raised by the caller, you should ask questions to get a clear understanding of the issue.
If the customer is unsatisfied with the solution, the agent should ask about the dissatisfaction to understand the cause. Listening carefully to customer questions helps you understand the customer’s point of view.
Answer the Phone Promptly
Callers do not appreciate waiting for long before someone answers the phone. It is best to have a business phone number and a dedicated staff member answer the phone. Nonetheless, answering too quickly can catch the caller unprepared. The best practice is to answer the call, preferably on the third ring.
It is important to set expectations for all employees about how quickly they need to answer the phone. However, it may be best to forward calls when you’re away from your desk. Call forwarding ensures callers receive the needed support even when all the employees are held up.
Communicate Hold and Waiting Times
Although it is common to place callers on hold, it is vital to ensure you minimize how long you keep callers waiting. People can get upset when put on hold without explanations. Setting expectations for a call is important.
So if you want to put someone on hold or transfer, let them know what to expect. Callers are less likely to remain to wait after extended periods. It may be challenging, especially for small businesses with fewer staff members. You and your staff must be well-versed in keeping callers on hold for the shortest time possible.
Good customer service skills are essential for any business or organization to grow and become successful. Use these tips to show your employees how to handle calls professionally. Every call is an opportunity to make a great first impression, and every interaction counts.