More than answering the phone

We’ve been pondering about answering the phone.

On a recent Call Handling Skills Training session, one of the participants was quite insulted at being sent on a course to teach them how to answer the phone. They had changed their mind by the end of the course, after we had spent time exploring the realities of the calls they take, and the things they can do to lead the call, help the caller, and help their colleagues by getting the problem sorted – first time.

The reality is that good call handling is so much more than answering the phone.

Business benefits

Depending on whether you have sales or service conversations, it’s helping people to buy, increasing order values, wowing customers, getting it right first time, while managing both the call and the caller. Oh….. and you’ll probably have to navigate a computer system as well. And it’s very easy for the dark forces of the computer system to pull us in, and while we are trying to help the customer, the quality of the conversation can suffer.

It’s easy to dismiss call handling skills training as an area that doesn’t need investment, especially if your systems are a focus for your training. Let’s forget the business benefits of good call handling for a moment and think about it from an employees point of view.

Employee engagement & wellbeing

If they are asked to meet targets and KPI’s but don’t know how to manage a difficult customer, how to increase sales or average order values, or how to help someone close an account of someone who has recently died, then that builds.

If employees feel out of their depth, customer service suffer, the customer experience suffers, and the employee will feel the stress of that.

Stress and wellbeing in the workplace; especially contact centre environments is at the forefront of many managers minds. Investing in your front line customer facing people, your brand ambassadors, helping them to confidently help customers is a priority. After all it’s not just answering the phone.