How the Pros Do It: 7 Tips for Handling Inbound Calls

Call center operator at work

Do you still remember that Comcast service call that went viral in 2014? The incident was such a nightmare. Media outlets called it hellish, condescending, and terrorizing.

Of course, that’s the last thing you would want for your company. But even your best employees could flub an important call.

You see, handling inbound calls need specific skills. Skills that the best call center agents have mastered over years of training.

But don’t worry. There are pro tips you and your staff could follow to handle customer service calls better. Here are 7 of them.

1. Positivity Is a Must

Have you ever tried answering phone calls all day? It’s hard to stay enthusiastic, especially if some of the calls are from irate customers.

But a call center agent wouldn’t let one bad call affect the rest of his or her shift. The best inbound call center representatives understand that it’s not about them. It’s about the customers.

So instead of taking it as a personal insult, try to offer alternatives. Use positive language all the time. And never end a call without the customer feeling that a resolution is in the works.

2. Always Provide Accurate Information

When a customer calls about a delayed delivery, for example, what should you do?

Do you say it’s on the way even if it isn’t? Or do you go through your records to check the status of your customer’s package?

Of course, it’s the latter. But what if your records show that there’s a problem? And that the customer should expect further delays?

While it’s not ideal, the customer will appreciate that you gave accurate information. This will help them plan better from their end. If you lie or give incomplete details, this will result in more calls (angry ones) for the company.

That’s the last thing you want when you’re already having a hard time managing the volume of inbound calls.

3. Empathize and Be Patient

We talked about how to improve your customer communication skills in a previous post. We mentioned how it’s important for customers to know that you’re being sincere.

One way to do this is to remember that customers don’t get their jollies from doing this. In fact, they could be doing something else with their time than calling you. Them giving you a feedback shows that they think you’re worth spending time on.

The least you can do is acknowledge their concerns. If it’s something you cannot fix right away, try to understand where they are coming from. When you can convey that understanding, it makes a big difference.

And again, don’t think of customer complaints as a direct attack against you. When you keep calm and focus on listening to them, it’s easier to diffuse situations. This will help leave a good impression on your customers.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Inbound call center agents work on their call center rep skills all the time to keep them from being rusty. Most of the time contact centers provide training to their agents so they can stay on top of their game.

If you can’t provide training for your employees at the moment, you have other options. You can do quality control meetings, for one. As a team, you can go over bad calls and brainstorm how to reduce such incidents.

You can also do one-on-ones with your employees. Find out where they’re struggling with their communication skills. And work on them together.

The only problem here is you’ll be investing a lot of time training your employees. If they leave, it will put you in a bind. Or if your business grows, you’ll need to hire new staff, whom you’ll have to train again.

If the practice makes perfect approach isn’t possible now, consider answering services. It’s a good solution for when you don’t have a lot of time to invest in training your staff and the new hires.

5. Make Sure Everyone’s on the Same Page

Number one on a call center skills list is mastery of the company’s products or services. It’s not a skill only call center agents can have though. You can train your employees to have a deep knowledge of your company’s offerings.

Let your employees understand your company’s inner workings. The more they know, the better they can provide answers and solutions to your customers.

This will also help them be adaptable. If they know the company in and out, they don’t have to stick to one script all the time.

They can provide satisfying answers no matter the situation. This could be for a customer wanting product support. Or for companies looking for business partnership opportunities.

6. Avoid Interrogating the Caller

In your haste to provide a solution, it’s tempting to ask the caller a lot of questions. But if you rattle off several questions at once, it can get annoying.

What you should do is pair statements and questions. A statement before a question explains the purpose of the latter. You can say, for example, “I just need to update your billing details. What address should I put on your file?

You can also do this for pitching promos. Tell the customer first about the promo you’re offering, and then ask a follow-up question.

If you’re itching to close the caller, try to explain why now’s the right time to act. It’s better than asking right away because it makes you too eager, which could put off some customers.

7. Don’t Make Assumptions

When employees get the hang of handling inbound calls, everything could feel routine. This makes it easy for them to make assumptions about a customer’s needs and wants.

It’s important to keep in mind that every caller is different. The solution could be the same but you need to treat each customer’s problem as unique. This means your employees would have to tailor their approach when necessary.

It’s best to follow the caller’s lead. Let them tell you what they want and then you can fill the gaps with follow up questions. Assure the customer that you understood what they want.

Repeat what they said if necessary. Making assumptions and getting it wrong will leave a lasting negative impression. It will make any caller feel like the other person isn’t listening and is the surest way to lose a customer’s trust.

Handling Inbound Calls: Are Your Employees Ready?

Handling inbound calls with finesse takes time.

Following the tips above will help your employees better field calls. But if you need more help, there are solutions you could look into.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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AnswerFirst Communications, Inc. has provided quality answering services since 1985. We currently provide answering services, virtual receptionist solutions and customer service solutions to thousand of clients around the globe.
By |2018-06-25T13:54:35+00:00June 17th, 2018|ServiceFirst: Customer Service Blog|0 Comments

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