How to Handle Customers Faster on the Phone
You and your staff only have so much time during the day. Handling customer calls is one of those essential tasks that you must get done but often spend too much time on. You can reduce the time you spend on each call, also called your average handling time, and get back to other tasks that matter.
1. Listen and Question
You’ve heard every customer concern before, so it is natural to assume you know what’s going on. However, early assumptions in a call can make for confusion later. Listen carefully to the customer upfront and make sure you understand what they are calling about before you start taking action.
2. Use Signposting
Will you need information from a customer that they may find hard to get? Warn them as soon as you can in the call so that they have time to go get it for you. This is called signposting. Some examples include:
- “In a moment, I will need the serial number from your furnace.”
- “Soon, I’ll need your credit card information.”
- “Before we end this call, I’ll need you to confirm the name of your insurance company.”
This can save time because you can keep talking to the customer about other things you need to cover while they get their information.
3. Use Better Software
The scheduling or call-handling software that you use to support you through calls can save you a huge amount of time. Software that integrates with your customer relationship management software can be highly beneficial. They can pull up the customer’s file when they call, immediately giving you access to the information you need, like which work the customer has had done and their address.
Other ways that better software can save you time include:
- Omnichannel: These allow you to unify text, calls and emails, which makes it easier to track all of your information about and contact with your client.
- Call routing: Automatically get your calls directed to you and calls that are better suited for other team members directed to them.
- Reporting: Get a more accurate idea of how long your calls are lasting, so you can identify the type of calls that take the most time. Then you can make adjustments to reduce the amount of time you spend on those specific calls.
5. Use Abbreviations
You likely also find that you need to make notes from your calls. Having a consistent set of abbreviations that you use for your notes can make this process faster and save you some time. Just make sure that they are consistent so that your staff understands the notes, and you can tell what you wrote even years later.
6. Consider a Digital Receptionist
Why even take your calls yourself? You get to a point where you are too busy and need someone else to handle your calls. Choosing a digital receptionist is a less expensive option than hiring someone and gives you the flexibility to cancel at any time. You can also check out these tips on how you can put a customer on hold and how to avoid it.