Telephone Answering Services and Call Centers are in the business of branding your business.Â They accomplish this by delivering Quality Call Handling.
What is Quality Call Handling? ItÂ means answering your phones with professional, courteous, and friendly people, listening and understanding what the caller says, making inquiries to ensure the information taken from the caller is correct, and delivering that message to the right person all within an appropriate amount of time.
In the call center industry, Quality Call Handling is of the utmost importance. Our clients expect a high level of service and that all their callers are treated with respect and handled correctly. When service to a business client is falling below the expected service level, how do we ascertain the reason? Well, we look at the scripting, we look at the agent training, and we listen to the calls.
We begin the process of quality call handling assurance here: We listen to a call and determine if the operator was indeed professional, courteous and friendly. We’ll alsoÂ check to make sure that the agent followed the business clientâ€™s call handling instructions to a â€śTâ€ť, and if everything checks out, weâ€™ve got two more things to look at.
One of those is Â the actual message that resulted from the call. Were the callerâ€™s words replaced with the agentâ€™s interpretation of what the caller was saying?Â For instance, my personal experience includes a doctorâ€™s appointment wherein I called to let the office know I was going to be â€śa couple hours lateâ€ť. The agent then repeated back to me, â€śso you will be one to two hours late.â€ťÂ And I repeated myself, â€śno, thatâ€™s not what my message is.Â My message is that I will be a couple hours late.” Â The agent then said, “Okay, you will be a couple hours late.” Â When I arrived at the doctorâ€™s office, the message given them was that I was going to be exactly two hours late.
Thatâ€™s when I realized the agent did not take down the message I gave her.Â I said a â€ścouple hoursâ€ť, and the agent said â€śtwo hours.â€ť Â Now normally we all know that a couple generally means two, however when taking a telephone message it is far more important that the message be exactly as the caller wishes.Â It is not up to us to re-write a message in our heads, or to assume we know what the caller means. Â The job of the agent is to take an accurate message and deliver it.
Finally, we Â look at the delivery of the message.Â Once the agent has taken the message as relayed exactly by the caller, according to the scripting prescribed by the client company, the agent must now see to it that the message is delivered according to specific instructions, again, prescribed by the client company.
So, we can see that quality call handling is not final when the call ends.Â Quality call handling, on a per call basis, is measured from start to finish. Everything from “Was the call answered in three rings or less?” to “Was the message delivered by email to the correct on-call technician?” Â The call comes in, the agent answers it within certain metric expectations, the agent is professional, courteous and friendly, the agent follows the client companyâ€™s instructions and script securing the information as it is exactly relayed by the caller, the agent ends the call, the agent sends the message to the client company.
Sounds simple doesnâ€™t it?
Ha!Â Go ahead.Â You try it.Â Try answering a call without using the words okay, huh-huh, uh-uh, yep, yeah, sure, you got it, no problem, and other popular communication slang Â we take for granted everyday;Â try taking a message for someone without interjecting your own interpretation of what the caller actually said; try delivering that message to the on-call technician who only works every 3rd Tuesday of each month.
Believe me, itâ€™s not easy.
But itâ€™s worth learning, and itâ€™s so worth doing.
Delivering a quality service to your customer and to their callers is well worth the effort, the training, and the ongoing coaching it takes.