Following the exhibition Jenny talked about last week, we have spent a lot of time talking to people who are interested in using us as their call handlers. One of the questions we ask during these conversations is ''what type of calls would you anticipate us taking?'' Another is ''how would you describe your callers?''
These questions are important for two reasons. The first one helps us to determine which is the best package for them. They both help us to use examples that will resonate with the potential clients.
"We handle a wide variety of calls across many industries, but the caller types probably don't change that much."
Whether callers are male or female, business contacts or consumers, you could describe them like the cats from the musical. And as call handlers we make sure they are each treated in their own special way.
Macavity - the mystery cat
He is described in his song as "a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity". For us, the main culprits of this type of caller are those working in telesales or telemarketing. They try every trick and guile in their arsenal to get past us. Some sound so nice, ask for the business owner by name and suggest that the nature of their call is urgent and expected. Just like the policemen trying to track down Macavity, we get frustrated when we have duped into sending a message to our clients.
So the call handlers' job is to gently and carefully probe to find out more information before advising cold sales and marketing calls that we are not looking for their product at this particular time and ask them to stop calling as we are TPS registered.
Skimbleshanks - the railway cat
"Nothing went wrong on the Northern Mail When Skimbleshanks was aboard". There are some customers who are very particular, insisting that everything is perfect - from the price down to the product/service. Some of these callers will ring several times to clarify that things are right or to complain that things are not going exactly as they had hoped. They feel that if they are not constantly in touch then things might go wrong.
These can be difficult for call handlers because you are the decision maker, not us. Remaining patient is key to a successful call; listening to their needs and passing on accurate messages so that you can make the necessary decision.
Old Deuteronomy - the father of cats
"He's a cat who has lived many lives in succession". He is the role model, the cat they all look up to. He plays a critical role in the decision as to who journeys to the Heaviside Layer, a decision which isn't made without him. He could be seen as the prospect that has the power to give you the biggest contract that you have ever had. He is your VIP caller.
Without knowing who you consider to be your VIPs, it can be difficult for call handlers to identify them in order to treat them accordingly. Just by letting us know who you are currently working with allows us to treat them like we know who they are, it means we don't need to ask them for their number and their email address - information that they know that you already have.
Grizabella - the glamour cat
She is in the twilight of her life and has come back to the Jellicle tribe hoping to rejoin them. She spends time remembering her past. You might consider her to be your older customers. For a number of our clients we take numerous calls each day from elderly people. With one particular client we usually talk to his father at least once a day whilst they are on holiday - his father has Alzheimer's and often rings to speak to Ray because he has forgotten they are on holiday.
The key to dealing with the elderly is to remain polite, respectful and patient. Someone once told me that you should speak to them as you would your own grandma and that has stood me in good stead for these types of call. Being patient no matter if you are repeating yourself and being as helpful as possible is the role of the call handlers in these situations.
Bustopher Jones - a fat cat
He is described as wearing 'white spats'. He is depicted as a traditional Edwardian gentleman. In today's society he would be well off, married to a lady that lunches, living the high life with at least one Range Rover on the drive and probably an Audi estate for ferrying the children about. Living in the 'posh houses' they are all about their lifestyle and tend to buy on quality rather than price. We have one particular customer who is a Lord himself, and another that regularly deals with a Lady.
We have a number of clients that deal in 'high end' products and services and so the Genies are used to speaking to wealthy clients. A deferential and understanding tone is useful whilst remaining professional and standing true to company policy where necessary. As call handlers it is important that the tone and quality of the call matches the quality of the product and service provided by our clients.
So, as you can see, here at The Office Genie we are used to dealing with every type of caller and know how to get the best outcome for both our clients and their customers.
If you would like to consider us as your call handlers then please call me on 01604 529170 so we can chat about the type of calls and callers that you usually have and how we would best handle those for you!
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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