In the wake of modern techniques like chatbots and live chat options on your website, many business owners forget to nurture their incoming phone calls.
Despite popular belief, customers of all ages prefer getting on the line and having a conversation when they need issues resolved by a company. For that reason, you need dedicated agents ready to handle inbound calls appropriately to generate more business.
It likely won’t surprise you that sales are at the heart of any good business. But often, companies don’t consider how inbound calls can yield higher sales. This usually happens by converting potential leads into paying customers—a process expedited by how well your inbound call agents address the callers’ needs and resolve any issues they’re having.
Your business’ customer service representatives should always:
- Answer calls promptly
- Warmly greet callers
- And, hopefully, schedule an appointment by the end of the call
Following this process is a surefire way to drive sales and increase customer conversion.
Read on to learn more about how your company can rethink how it handles inbound calls, capitalizing on how your brand makes first impressions with callers and reinforces your relationship with long-term clients.
Types of Inbound Calls
Before you understand how to handle inbound calls, you need to know what type of calls to expect.
These calls occur when a customer has questions about one of the products they’ve purchased, such as what to do when the product is malfunctioning. Sometimes, customers will call when they want information on their order status or are seeking a refund for a defective product.
These calls present an excellent chance for your company to demonstrate your responsiveness and dedication to customer service.
Sometimes, people will call your business as prospective customers, requesting more information about your product or service to see how it can benefit them. We often call these callers “warm leads,” as marketing strategies may have led the prospective client to call. Prioritize how your product or service can alleviate the caller’s pain point in these calls.
How to Handle Inbound Calls
Like many other parts of building and maintaining a thriving business, developing a plan for inbound calls upfront will ease the process. Consider every inbound call as a sales opportunity; you don’t want to miss your chance to convert.
Prioritize learning as much about a caller as possible by retrieving their order history or other interactions they’ve had with your company. Most importantly, conduct the call with friendliness and a helpful tone of voice. Callers notice if your agents seem discouraged or distracted, and we want them to feel like they’re being cared for every step of the way.
Establish a Call Procedure
An agent’s first job is to help the caller. The last thing you want one of your company’s customer service representatives to do is get off track of the customer’s needs. Utilizing a standard call model, which your agents can reference during a call, prevents the call from straying away from a client’s needs.
Sometimes, following a structure makes it easier for a representative to maintain a warm tone, leading to more conversion. Likewise, the more an agent practices the model, the more effortless—and natural—the process will become.
Remember to alternate between questions and statements to keep the conversation flowing. Dryly responding to all of a caller’s inquiries can intimidate them or turn them off. Create a dialogue with a caller as often as possible.
After answering with a warm and confident tone, make the caller feel heard and important. Your agents should introduce themselves by name and ask the clients theirs, making sure to address the caller by name throughout the conversation naturally. The less you make them feel like just another caller, the better.
Refrain from addressing the caller by name too much, which can feel overly sales-y. A caller who doesn’t feel pressured is more inclined to buy your products or services.
You want the caller to feel like their opinions and needs matter, but you also need to maintain soft control over the conversation and refrain from giving the caller too much leeway. It’s part of your agents’ jobs to lead, eventually resulting in a commitment from the customer before the call’s end.
It’s possible to respond to a caller’s needs empathetically and effectively while still directing the flow of the conversation. In essence, you want to lead callers toward an action, whether that is:
- Making a purchase
- Setting an appointment
- Interacting with your services in some way
Work Through Objections
Not every call will go smoothly, and that’s okay. Often, clients only call once they have a problem with your product, and these callers may be frustrated or angry before the call begins. Remember to stay in control and handle the situation empathetically.
You can counteract objections before they arise by showcasing your company’s value and thoroughly explaining your appointment or return processes. Remember to prepare for if a caller presents scheduling issues or wishes to call back later. Develop staple phrases and talk tracks to rely on when faced with more common objections and roadblocks.
Always do your best to:
- Empathize with the caller’s situation
- Clarify the issue
- Propose a solution
- Confirm that the caller agrees.
While not every situation plays out the same way, you can use this strategy to keep callers engaged and remind them that you are a knowledgeable authoritative source.
Adapt to the Caller’s Pace
Don’t oversell or give a pitch in the same sentence you’re asking for a purchase. Callers do not like to feel like you’re manipulating them into a sale. Instead, control the conversation but play toward their pace.
Some people arrive at the purchase more slowly than others. Through experience, your agents can learn how to navigate each call, playing toward the uniquely human elements that drive people to buy a product.
Transform the Way You Handle Inbound Calls with AnswerFirst
Hopefully, by now, you understand a little more about why inbound calls are so important and how you can adjust your approach to better accommodate call volume and callers’ needs.
AnswerFirst offers services to help you manage inbound calls, from 24/7 answering services to virtual receptionists. To learn more about how we help you handle inbound calls, call 1-800-645-2616.