Hello everyone! Zarte here! No, no, no, don’t hang up.
Why? Well because it’s rude, and isn’t a particularly good way to handle calls.
Yes, I know this isn’t a phone call, and I know I’m waffling, but it was the tidiest way I could find to get round to today’s subject, which IS call handling. Now I’m not going to go into the correct salutation to use upon answering the phone, or how cheerful or professional to be on the phone – these are all things we have different opinions on, and I’m no better placed to comment on your practices than you would be on ours, but what I CAN discuss with you, is how you handle your calls in the technological sense.
First of all, a direct, and very simple plea. Please, for the love of all that’s good in the world, will you get yourself a voicemail service. Every single telephone provider now, will offer you a voicemail service, and they’re not expensive. A lack of one is genuinely likely to lose you a considerable amount of business. Seriously. First of all, people are inherently impatient, and when their patience is tested, it puts them in a bad mood. If your phone is going to ring for up to a minute, then that’s likely to hack people off before they’ve even reached you. If at the end of that, there’s no function to leave a message or even ask for a call back (even if someone actually doesn’t want to leave one), then that’s going to get their goat even more. You have, in essence, wasted a whole valuable minute of their time. This might sound trivial, however having done this, they’re now likely to move onto the next recommended number, and call that. If they get an answer, or even an answerphone to leave a message on, they’re vastly more likely to part with their hard-earned cash to them.
After this, we get onto a related matter, which is time of day calling features. These are less used, but can be really useful in giving the best service and impression possible to customers and potential customers. In essence, you tell your phone lines what time you’re available to take calls from and until, and outside of those hours, callers are taken straight to an out of hours message, which can say whatever you like, but usually “Thank you for calling X, we’re now closed. Please leave a message, or call back between our opening hours which are Y until Z”. No wasted time, clear information, and a vocal connection, albeit pre-recorded, rather than an automated voice.
This can also be tied into a call divert, though the two aren’t inexorably linked. A call divert allows you to place an automated redirect on calls coming through during particular times. For instance if you’re always in the office in the mornings, but out and about in the afternoons, you can set a divert to your mobile for those afternoon periods. It is worth considering whether this is actually the best option though. If you’re in customer meetings, it could actually be a bad thing to have the constant interruptions, and a simple out of office message might be more effective.
The final thing to bear in mind is whether to bring phone extension options into your place of work. In essence having a menu of some sort, to allow people to navigate their calls to the correct place. This is useful if you have multiple departments, even if those departments are in essence one person in the corner of the small office. These options can also be used in conjunction with time of day and call diverts to create something whereby if someone calls with an emergency issue out of hours, you can take their call and speak to them. Obviously this is something that should be done with consideration, but in some industries, it’s worth it.
So, hopefully you’ve now read this and will consider whether you need to up your game with regard to call handling. If you’ve got further questions about the subject, or if you just want to bounce some ideas on someone, as ever, feel free to call us in the office, and we can find the best person to have a chat with you.
Until next time,