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8 signs your business’ call handling is broken

Companies / SME Apr 14, 2023 - 02:13 PM GMT

By: Submissions


Everyone who’s worked in an office can recall a time the phone rang and everyone froze, waiting to see who’d blink first.

The phone rang…and rang…and rang.

It’s common in any office where call handling isn’t a main part of someone’s job.

But it’s devastating for customer service and runs the risk of losing business, and alienating customers.

Putting a focus on call handling can be overlooked at a time when you’ve got so many digital communication channels available. But when it comes to it, customers still prefer to pick up the phone if they’re looking for information or want to quickly resolve a problem.

So, if you’re wondering about the state of your business’ call handling and whether it’s helping or hindering your customer service, telephone answering service specialists Face For Business have provided the 8 signs your call handling might be broken.

1. You’re not getting messages in time

Nearly half of customers expect calls to be returned within 4 hours of leaving a message.

This makes it essential that the right people get messages quickly.

There’s no point getting your messages days, or weeks, after the fact. By that point, it’s too late and the customer has likely moved on.

When receiving your messages, it’s important you’re notified of the message too.

Simply dropping messages into an inbox is no better than using an answering machine, as there’s a good chance you won’t notice the message is there until it’s too late.

So you need a system that effectively lets team members know they have a call to return.

2. You’re not getting all the info you need

Taking a message is one thing, but unless it’s accurate and provides your team with all the information you need to effectively return the call, the message is almost useless.

At best you’ll be returning a call without the proper context and the customer will be forced to repeat themselves (which isn’t great for their confidence in your service).

At worst, too much information will be missing and you won’t be able to return the call at all.

3. You’re still missing calls

Whether you’re hiring a dedicated call answering resource, or making it part of every employee’s responsibility to answer the phone they’re nearest to, the minimum you should expect is that you’re no longer missing calls.

If you’ve hired a receptionist, it’s still likely you’ll miss some calls because they can only deal with one call at a time.

If you’re relying on your employees to answer the phone, calls may be missed if your team is busy in a meeting or rushing to complete a task and leave the phone for too long.

A dedicated telephone answering service is the only way to solve the problem of missed business calls.

4. You’re still dealing with spam calls

Spam calls are a major hassle for businesses.

At the very least they take time away from your team that could be better spent dealing with customer enquiries or making sales calls.

As part of your call handling policy, you should register your business number with the Corporate Telephone Preference Service.

But if you find your business is still dealing with nuisance or unwanted sales calls, you may need to find an alternative call answering solution.

5. Employees are spending too much time on the phone

Answering the phone is a key part of customer service.

But when it’s not your employees’ primary job to answer calls, dealing with the phone can take up a significant amount of time and pull them away from their main job.

This is particularly disruptive when the calls they’re dealing with are irrelevant sales calls or spam calls.

It’s not just the time they spend on the phone either. 

It can take up to 30 minutes after a distraction to fully regain concentration.

That means, during an eight hour work day, an employee could lose a quarter of their day’s productivity just by answering four phone calls.

6. Low customer satisfaction

Professionalising your call handling should serve one purpose - improving your customer service.

Answering calls professionally, resolving customer issues quickly, and streamlining call handling, all serve that one purpose.

This is why you need to take regular surveys of your customer satisfaction scores, specifically identifying what customers think of the way your business handles phone calls.

You should examine every aspect of the call, from the initial answer, to the professionalism of the call handler, to the satisfactory resolution (hopefully) of the issue.

If you do this and your service scores aren’t improving, you’ll have some work to do. 

7. Low employee motivation

Dealing with nuisance calls or constantly being distracted by the phone won’t result in demotivated employees in isolation, but it can be a major contributing factor.

It’s good practice to review employee satisfaction - just as you would customer satisfaction - and use the opportunity to identify areas of the working day that employees feel make them less or more productive.

If calls are continually coming up as an issue, this should motivate you to put the situation right.

8. Messages are coming in too many formats

How you receive your messages is just as important as when you receive them.

With no standard way of handling calls you’ll get messages in more ways than you can keep track of.

Emails, post-it notes attached to desktop screens, texts, scrap pieces of paper left on a desk.

These are all common ways phone messages are passed on in offices without a strict call handling procedure.

And they’re all easy to miss.

Ideally for your call handling and messages you want a single format for sending and receiving messages that make the management as easy as possible.

Could a telephone answering service help you?
If you’re struggling to manage your business’ calls, are finding calls being missed or messages lost before you can return them, then a telephone answering service could be the answer.

Rather than having a single employee to answer the phone - or pulling your team from their day job - you get a team of professional receptionists who can answer your incoming calls for you.

With Face For Business’ call answering service you get a dedicated client portal which notifies you immediately when a new message is logged.

This includes all the details of the call you need, as well as the complete call recording so you can hear exactly how the call has been dealt with.

At a much reduced cost compared to a full-time member of staff you can stop worrying about calls being missed and focus on the things that matter to growing your business’ future.

Samantha Waites

© 2023 Samantha Waites - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2022 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

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