Front Desk is the frontline of call handling in any company and is the gateway to a company’s employees. Not just any gateway, mind you. This particular entrance needs to be well protected and of course, welcoming. In fact, a bad first impression is the most prevalent front desk problem that can be averted very easily, be it in person, or over the phone. Presenting some of the call handling best practices that you should remember always so that it helps you welcome the visitors better.
Call handling Best Practices
Timing is very important. If you pick the call too early, then the caller is left off-guard and can stumble to talk. If you take too much time to pick up the call, the caller is left angry and stressed. The rulebook says that you should pick up the call after two rings, that is where the caller is the most prepared and hence is considered the best time to pick the call.
The callers are diverted to voicemails when there is nobody to pick up the call. So, you should be prompt and attentive to return the voicemails once they are received, so that the caller is not frustrated out about their voice not being heard.
There are times when a caller gives required information which is meant to be noted down. Be ready with a note and a pen whenever needed. Humans are not that particularly memory efficient when there are a lot of processes going on, and so it is essential to keep note of important pieces of information that is received.
“To err is human”, and so it is important to verify and cross-check the information we receive on calls. After the information is given to you on phone take time to repeat back it to the caller to verify that all you noted is correct.
Always take permission when placing a call on hol
d and also specify the time until which they will be put on hold. It is the behavior of a well-mannered person to take permission before holding up. If you happen to take more than the specified time then, release the call from hold and tell them that they might have to wait for a few more minutes. It makes the caller feel comfortable, informed and heard.
Be Pleasant to all callers when receiving calls. And don’t forget to smile. It might sound crazy, but when you smile and answer the call, your voice becomes more pleasant. After all, it is the work of the receptionist to welcome visitors, physically and on calls too.
If the front office reception area is not organized, then it puts a very bad impression about the entire office, and so staying organized is a priority. Even when receiving a call, staying organized will help you when you might have to take down notes from a call.
Thanking the caller
After any call, thank the caller for calling no matter how rude or impatient the caller might be. This leaves out a very positive impression in the eyes or should I say ears of the caller. Always include a thank you note at the end of every call.
Handling Rude or Impatient Callers
I understand that greeting office visitors is not always smooth. There are times when you might have to keep your cool with some rude and impatient callers. First, listen to the caller and then repeat what they said, this makes the caller know that he/she is being heard. If there is something that you cannot resolve then find the suitable person to handle the caller and transfer the call after taking their permission.
Call Handling Do’s and Dont’s
- Pick the call in less than four rings. Remember the two ring policy that we talked about above.
- Always use the positive greeting, when greeting any caller over the phone. Also, keep a script for picking up calls even if you are a pro.
- Smiling is important before placing or answering a phone call, as it affects the sound of the voice, giving it a more pleasant and friendly tone.
- Speak in a clear tone using a voice that is neither too loud nor too low, and speak slowly that the caller can understand.
- Ask for permission first and give them the option to leave a voicemail message. Also, when releasing the call, thank the caller to show that their time is respected.
- When a caller is speaking, listen to them say without interruptions.
- Always state your name before asking for the person that the call is for.
- Always return phone calls if a return call has been promised. If a time frame was given the caller must make every attempt to return the phone call as quickly as possible within that frame.
- If it is necessary to transfer a call, inform the person on the other end before doing so. It is also important to explain the need for the transfer.
- Before transferring a call, confirm that the person to whom the call is being transferred is available. This person’s name should be given to the party who is being transferred.
- If a person is answering the telephone, he or she should never answer on the first ring. Callers do not expect this and will be taken off guard.
- If you must leave the phone, never leave the line open. Instead, place the person on hold and check back with him or her frequently – preferably every 45 seconds.
- Never say the words, “I don’t know” when talking with someone on the phone. Instead respond to the question where there is not a definite answer is to say “I’ll check on that for you.”
- Never say to a caller anything that can be taken as rudeness. The person who answers the phone should always talk to the caller in the way that he or she would like someone to speak to them.
- It is never acceptable to argue with a caller.
- When ending a phone call, do not hang up the phone without a positive closure such as “Thank you for calling,” or “Have a Good Day.”
Follow these front desk call handling best practices to become the master of the frontline front desk of any office.