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Sunday, 25 February

A Call to Call Outsourcing for the Outsourced

For FM service providers, keeping an eye on the bottom line is a constant pressure, sometimes so great that it can override the importance of providing customer service - and standards can slip, writes Jess Edwards.

This goes for every facet of service, including how a client’s calls are handled.

The manner in which client calls are dealt with has a big impact on how the level of service is interpreted by each individual who gets in touch with the company over the phone. Often, a customer will pick up the phone as a first port of call when they are faced with a crisis or have a query. It’s more immediate than other forms of communication and they appreciate being able to speak directly to another person.

Let the quality of these calls fall and eventually this can have a detrimental effect on the turnover of a company as customers seek out a better service. An irony as it’s often the cost-cutting exercise which has led to the dip in call handling quality.

 

Outsourcing for the outsourced

An alternative or assistive solution is often sought, which is why outsourced telephone answering services are so popular in the industry. It means managers can assure clients of a constantly high level of care, without worrying about the cost of additional overheads extra staff will bring to cover all of the necessary calls such as salaries, manager resource time and recruitment.

For companies who choose to use a telephone answering service for their overflow calls – those that the customer service team aren’t able to get to, particularly during peak times or a crisis – they can still greatly improve their team’s call handling skills.

 

Answer every time

It seems obvious but so many businesses fall at this first hurdle. To give good customer service over the phone, the call must be answered each and every time. An enormous amount of calls, and customers, slip through the net by going unanswered. Just as a visitor wouldn’t be ignored when the step into the reception area, every call must be treated with the same urgency and importance. A report by Moneypenny found that 69% of people will hang up at the sound of a voicemail greeting rather than leave a message. No business can afford to treat customers that way.

 

Priorities

Leaving a phone to ring and ring is a sign that a workforce is not too busy but doesn’t have its priorities in order. A visitor in reception will well be put off by a continuously ringing phone as much as the people working there. Also, the caller will not be given a great impression if they are left waiting for their call to be answered. Moneypenny call data shows that businesses experience the highest volume of calls between 9-10am on a Monday, so it’s worth ensuring reception staff are ready by the phone in the morning so callers aren’t left waiting.

 

Give warm greetings and farewells

The way in which a call is answered not only gives the first impression but also the lasting impression. A professional and friendly greeting is important in achieving this. A survey has found that business that answered calls stating the time of day e.g. Good Morning, were perceived as the most professional. Whilst those who answered with Hello were deemed curt. The same applies for an agreeable farewell.

Mirror the caller. People like to speak to others who are on their level. When someone calls in a rush, they don’t want to be kept on the phone with too many pleasantries. They want to get an answer and to move on. If someone calls and they are very cheerful, they will respond well to a call handler who is equally as talkative. This goes a long way to improving customer service calls.

By Jess Edwards, Commercial Channel Manager at Moneypenny

Article written by Jess Edwards

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