For the purposes of client relation and progresses in quality of services provided, staffs are urged to follow certain guidelines during conversations with the clients. Whether it is a direct face-to-face conversation, telephone conversation or even an e-mail conversation (Steve, 2015). However, the inefficient skills used by the employees during telephone conversations, end up causing lot of difficulties to their clients or customers. This happens, because the staffs or the business does not understand telephone as a business tool or basically, how to efficiently answer to a telephone call. In addition, untrained employees, lack of staff empowerment, or even reflection of employee’s personal problems on work also leads to inefficient customer service. As a result millions and millions worth profit are lost each and every year. What I mean by, efficient phone communication is knowing the techniques which will help the message to get across clearly, politely and efficiently. Moreover, nowadays even customers expect to be dealt in a professional and competent manner. So, the need for knowing the appropriate telephone techniques are higher than that has ever been. In this essay I will first review the several issues faced by the customers during telephone conversations. Which includes the inappropriate skill practised by the employees during, Answering calls, screening the calls, putting the calls on hold, transferring the calls, taking messages and concluding the calls. Then, I will use the work of, Abot (2004) to highlight possible recommendations on how to solve the aforementioned issues faced during telephone calls – the techniques to be used during telephone conversations will differ accordingly with the type and size of the organisation. The third part of this paper summarises points about issues faced by customers due to inefficient telephone skills of the employees. I argue the case that, as a result of inefficient telephone skills used by the employees, its customers will face lot of issues and difficulties. Hence, this will greatly impact on the company’s reputation and its revenue (Easre, 2013).
2.0 Issues faced by customers due to inefficient telephone skills In today’s world customers demand ‘value for money’. They expect to receive a service or product which is up to the value they paid for it. In order to do so, building a strong relationship with the customer is very important (Rayne, 2013). This is where telephone comes in. Sales
team will call to potential customers to inform about and sell their products and services. Interested customers will call to the company to clarify or to buy the services and product. And even, after closing the sale there will be the process of supporting, trouble-shooting, reporting, warranty claim and feedback. Majority of these events will take through telephone calls. So, in order to succeed in today’s world, the will need to identify and improve the wrong they have been doing during telephone calls. Below, are some of common the inefficient skills used by employees during telephone calls;
2.1 Answering Telephone Calls
Companies and organisations not answering to their phones have been a big issue among all the customers using a service or a product of a company all across the globe. There have been lots of complaints about this issue. It may take an hour or in some cases weeks to connect with a representative of the company or organisation. Moreover, even if customer was able to make the call the tone and actions of the receiving employee also impacts on the conversation. In many cases employees tend to answer the phone calls with an aggressive tone or while they are in bad moods. This happens, as the employees are unable to separate their personal issues from the work. In addition, employees not believing in the products or services provided by that company will also impact on the motivation and willingness of the employee (Adam, 2010). 2.2 Screening the Calls
In lot of cases customers tend to call other employees form the same organisation, if they were unable to make contact with specific employee they were looking for. In this case the employee answering the call should follow some standard guideline in order to guide the customer through. However, most of employees seems to answer these type of calls in very rude manners. Directly asking the caller’s name or failing to put on hold while looking for the employee, giving specific whereabouts of the employee and failing to take a message or a note if the employee is absent. These are common inappropriate skills practiced by employees while screening the calls. 2.3 Putting Calls on Hold
In lot of cases employees have to put the customer on hold during the conversation. However, the way employees do it is not quite all right. Very often employees put the call on hold without giving a hint about it to the caller, or keep them on hold for
extensive period of time without checking back. Also, some employees use very informal wordings like ‘Hang on’ or ‘Hold on’ to inform the customer. Having to wait on hold for too long will make the frustrated and would also lose the good will towards that organisation. Moreover, when connected back he/she may act or talk in much aggressive manner making the situation even worse. 2.4 Taking Messages
In cases where the intended receiver of the call is not present, taking a message for that employee would the most professional thing to do. But, in some cases employees just hang up or end the call saying that employee is not present. And even in cases where a note is taken, employees fail to take other related information along, such as name of the caller, contact details, preferred time to call back, time zone difference and urgency of the issue.
Because the note was not taken efficiently, the require message would not be passed to the intended employee, or even if it does the message would be incomplete or there would not be any way to get back to the customer to follow up with the issue. 2.5 Concluding the Calls
Just answering the call will not simply impress the customer. The way there are spoken to and treaded will also matter. Moreover, the conclusion of the call will play a vital role in customer satisfaction in a telephone call. However, lot of customers complain about hanging up the call without even giving them a chance. Or, some employees does hang up without giving a summary of the call or the follow-up details of the issue. Due to inefficient conclusions, the customers are again required make a call to the organisation, and go through the hassles all over again. This makes them frustrated and turns to be an aggressive customer over the telephone, making the situation more difficult to handle by the employee.
Up next, I will draw some recommendations in order to overcome the aforementioned issues face by the customers and inefficient telephone skills used by the employees, mainly based on the findings of Popvic, (2001).
3.1 Answering Telephone Calls
There are certain best practises followed by customer service representation centres while answering the phone calls, to maintain the satisfaction of customers towards the organisation they are representing. Some of these practices include answering every call on second ring, so that customers would not have to wait on line for the call to be picked up. Also to use a clear voice tone and identify the employee him/her self and offer help (‘How may I help you today?’) as the first thing. 3.2 Screening the Calls
Rather than directly asking the name of the caller, a much polite language (like, ‘Who may I say is calling?’) can be used. And also, before looking for the indented caller, the recipient may put the call on hold, the caller will not hear any unnecessary background noises. Furthermore, the employee should be careful about not to give any specific information on the whereabouts of the indented receiver and also offer an alternative, such as leaving a message, or provide a time to call back.
3.3 Putting Calls on Hold
An explanation should be given to the customer about the reason why call has to be put on hold. Also the employee should use a formal phrase such as “Please Hold” or “Please Wait” before putting on hold. And, if the hold is taking too long the employee should check back on the customer on every 30 or 40 second intervals. Furthermore, the employee may show his/her gratitude towards the customer by saying “Thank you for holding’.
3.4 Taking Messages
Massage taken to the absent employee should contain all the details that the customer wishes to share and all the details which will be needed by the employee in order to get back to the customer. These details include (Forsyth, 1997); - The issue regarding the call was made
- First and Last name of the customer
- Intended employee
- Complete contact details
- Proffered time to call back
- Date and Time the call was made
3.5 Concluding the Calls
A transitional phrase like ‘ Thank you for your call’ may be used and given a summary of the call and provide the necessary follow up details like time and name of the person who will be calling to provide additional details should be provided before ending the call. Also if any promises were made during the call, those promises should be restated and allow the customer to hang up the call. This way customer will get a feel that he/she is being treated with respect and he/she will get a guarantee that the issue they were calling would be looked into and fixed.
All in all, in today’s ever changing world telephone and conversations taken through telephone is a vital partner determining the success of a business (Easre, 2013). In order to develop new relationships and to maintain and grow existing business relationships telephone plays a major role. Staffs representing the organisation or the company should be familiar with the techniques and best practices to be used during telephone calls to make the caller or the customer satisfied. However, due to inefficient telephone skills used by many employees representing their respective organisations, lots and lots of complaints are being filed every day. From failing to answer the phone calls, to failing to say at least ‘Thank you’ before hanging up. In addition, keeping the customers on hold for too long, failing to connect with actual recipient which the customer intended to and even being asked too personal and direct questions. In order to, overcome these issues which is making the customers unhappy and at the end driving them away from using the products and services of that company or organisation, there are several regulations and recommendations to be followed. Each and every employee in any manner which may involve in a telephone conversation needs to be thought with these skills to improve the efficiency of the calls. Proper commination methods, and language to be used should be understood by each and every employee. This includes, right time and way to answer a call, how to screen a caller, things to be included on a taken note, and how to conclude a call. If these recommendations are to be followed and understood by the employees of the
organisation, the telephone conversations occurring with the organisation would turn out be efficient. Making the service receivers or the customers happy and satisfied. Hence, making them to continue using the products and services offered, generating more revenue to the company and increasing its profit at the end.
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Adam, E. (2010). Effective Telephone Techniques. Bristol: Win CRD.
Easre, D. (2013, April 21). Telephone Etiquitte. Retrieved from OfficeSkills.org: http://officeskills.org/telephone_etiquette.html
Forsyth, P. (1997). Telephone Skills. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.
Popvic, S. (2001). Telephone Techniques. Belgrade: TrainerNotes.com.
Rayne, A. (2013, December 11). Five Telephone Communication Skill Tips for Customer Service. Retrieved from Skills You Need:
Steve, J. (2015, May 5). Professional telephone skills for the helpdesk. Retrieved from Help Master Pro: