I am always amazed with how little receptionists and call handlers
are trained. Yet they are often the first and last person from your company to interact with your
customer - and often fall short of your expectations. As a result, you may be sending
the wrong impression to callers, and those first impressions
really count. In fact, these days, they count even more because
everyone is able to put on a good face online and in their materials, however that first human contact either delivers that professionalism or it does not.
The best way to recreate your customers' experience is to monitor
your calls. This can be done in person, but you will not hear the
customer's side of the conversation. That is why I suggest adding call
tracking. Not only does it give you the actual results of your
marketing efforts (with ad sources and names and numbers to call back), but it offers
reports (missed calls, length of call, call grading) and a call audio
feature so you hear the customer and the call handler at your company
communicate in real time. It is very illuminating when your ads say
number one in customer service, but your monitoring finds unhelpful call
handlers putting people on hold until they hang up from frustration.
When your calls are handled well, it is the best opportunity for new
business as well as the best way to retain your loyal customers. That
makes call training one of the most cost-effective investments you can make. In
fact, with the right training, your call handlers can even be taught to
encourage customers to buy more of your goods and services. Isn't that
the ultimate goal?
Once you are monitoring your calls, you will want to hold a call
training session to show your call handlers the way you would like them
to answer and troubleshoot your calls. It is important to encourage
your employees to improve their service rather than using the technology to scold
them. Keep in mind that at most companies, no one has trained them how
to effectively answer the phone and be an ambassador for your company until now.
A good call response trainer will ask company management to fill out a
questionnaire about the company and its customer service
claims. They will then monitor the calls before the training to see
what needs to be addressed. When they meet with the staff, they will
know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as management's preferences
about addressing callers. They can then use call monitoring to show
handlers how the customers react when the calls are handled well and
when they're not. This typically results in a "light bulb" moment when
the call handler sees that they set the tone for the interaction. In fact, they will see how important their role really is to the customer and help them see themselves as an important part of the company's team.