Your inbound phone line is your first chance to make a great impression - so why do so many business owners screw up this important customer interaction? Here are seven ways that your Call Handling can let you down and each is deadly in its own right ...
So own up then; how many of these mistakes are you making?
Poor message taking
Careful listening to your caller is all-important. Your caller will have important information to share and you need to be sure you get the right end of the stick. And it's not just their words that tell a story. Your caller's tone of voice will reveal a lot about their underlying mood (and help you identify if there are issues or concerns that are left unspoken).
Sharp listening is needed so you can respond appropriately to the caller. In addition, you must listen carefully so you can take an accurate message (and jot down the right name and phone number). Poor message taking can harm your ability to respond appropriately and undermine your business' reputation - don't do it!
Letting the phone ring and ring
The phone is supposed to be a convenient means for a customer or a supplier to speak with you. As such, it's incredibly frustrating if you don't pick up in a timely manner. Studies suggest that people will hang up if your phone rings more than three times - so pick up promptly, or you may lose out on valuable business.
Relying on voicemail
For sure there will be times when you're unable to pick up the phone, but voicemail is not a good solution.
Many callers don't like to leave a message, meaning voicemail can result in lost sales. In addition, voicemail is frustrating. Often your callers want to speak with a real person. I promise, it pays to ensure your phone is picked up by a real human whenever possible. Do this and you'll stand out from your competition and boost your customer satisfaction levels.
Forgetting to call back in a timely fashion
You can't be accessible 24/7 - as such, there will be times when a caller can't speak with you. But don't leave that caller waiting indefinitely. There's nothing more frustrating than waiting for a return call (which never comes) - even worse if you have to chase. So where possible, give your callers a realistic expectation of when you will call them back - and then stick to it. Reliability makes your word mean something and callers will respect you all the more.
Not answering sales calls
After spending your hard-earned cash creating an effective sales campaign that successfully gets the phone ringing, why would you NOT answer the phone?
It happens. In fact, I hear all sorts of horror stories about businesses who completely screw up the last leg of the sales process and miss out on a heap of business - all because they neglected their Call Handling.
Mismanagement of peak calling times
Inbound call volumes can be predictable in some businesses, but in others it can be hit-and-miss. Inbound calls are too important to miss, so why not have a fail-safe to ensure you cover all your bases?
The solution is simple - just divert your overflow to a trusted Call Handling professional. As a result, calls are never missed, customers are kept happy and you can stop worrying about the frustrated people who can't get through.
If you have to pick up, you can't work undisturbed. In turn, your phone (and someone else's agenda) ends up controlling your day.
When you've got a mounting to-do list and a growing collection of exciting projects filling your thoughts, Call Handling is unlikely to be top of mind.
"But Call Handling is one task you can outsource!"
As a result, it's not a surprise that your customers may be getting a less than A-grade service. Why continue to compromise your reputation when a Call Handling agency like The Office Genie can manage your inbound calls on your behalf?
Are your Call Handling processes letting you down? Please let me know in the comments below or give us a call on 01604 529170 and discover how a professional Call Handling service could transform your Call Handling.
Until next time ...
More about Jacqui Frost ...
THE OFFICE GENIE
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!
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