5 Typical Small Business Call Handling Mistakes

6 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from starmanseries

When you’re the owner of a business, you have to consider the various ways in which you can improve the service you are offering to your customers. One of the routes many small businesses go down to improve the customer service experience is to employ a call handling service team. That way, should a customer wish to order or book something over the phone, ask for more information, or make a complaint, they will get through to a person rather than a machine. This simple notion proves to be a very effective means of ensuring that the customer is always happy and has been known to improve customer retention statistics. Things don’t always go to plan however. Here are five typical small business call handling mistakes that your company could be making.

1.      Sounding like a robot

While answering calls every day for a living may not be everyone’s idea of a hot shot career, the unfortunate truth is that someone has to do it. So many times when companies answer the customer helpline, the person on the other end is left baffled. Why? Because the employee goes through the company call opening spiel at such a rate of knots and in a monotone voice that you can’t always be sure that you’ve called the right place, never mind understanding what they’ve said. Gleaning a name by which to address them is nigh on impossible. Immediately the customer experience has taken a downturn and that’s before you’ve even begun. It may seem like a small thing but any professional telephone answering service like Moneypenny will work extremely hard on getting this part right.

2.      Reading from a script

Many call centre employees are accused of not listening to the person on the other end of the phone. That’s because a lot of call centre employers give their workers a script from which to work through during the phone call to ensure that they have covered every aspect necessary. With that however, comes the inevitability that the call handler will refuse to deviate from the script. So should the person on the other end of the phone ask a question that they were not expecting, they simply choose to ignore it or to repeat what they just said. Having a person to talk to on the other end of the phone is supposed to eliminate this from happening.

3.      Getting irritable with the customer

You’ll often find that the people who ring call centre helplines are the ones who would ordinarily struggle to book or order something online. As such, these people may already have had a disappointing experience with your company website, or may be unaware of how to order online. You have to bear in mind when you’re answering the phone, that these people will not be as well versed in company policy as yourself. So if you are required to explain things more than once, to repeat yourself often, or to talk them through the whole process, then you should try to maintain a calm and friendly approach. Getting annoyed with the customer will only make them angry in turn and less likely to use your services again.

4.      Being over friendly

Have you ever rung a helpline only to be put through to the chattiest, most smiley sounding colleague? While this may seem like a blessing at first, you may find that they start to deviate from the topic very quickly and instead try to find out about your day, what you’re up to later, the names of your grandchildren etc. It is true that some people who call these helplines are lonely and are in need of such chatter, but the majority only want their query to be dealt with and having someone they do not know ask probing questions about them may be off-putting.

5.      Transferring

Many a time I have rang a helpline number only to be told that the number I actually require is different. So you’re given the new number and told to ring that. Upon ringing the new number however, I’m told that I have reached the wrong department and that they will transfer me to someone else who can deal with the call; on and on this charade goes until I hang up frustrated. By supplying your customers with the correct number for each type of query, this is less likely to happen.