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Dealing with incoming telephone calls

Mar 14, 2016

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training, phone, customers

  • 1Deal with incoming telephone calls from customers

    Unit A11

    What you will learn: To use communication systems effectively

    To establish rapport with customers who are calling

    To deal effectively with customer questions and requests

    To know how to deal with incoming telephone calls from customers

  • Deal with incom

    ing telephone calls from custom

    ers

    NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Customer Service

    Unit A11

    2

    This unit is all about creating the right impression and image with customers who make telephone calls to your organisation. This will involve you creating rapport with customers by the way in which you speak with them. To achieve customer satisfaction, your customers need to have confidence in you that the transaction will be handled well both during the telephone conversation and afterwards. Operating your telephone system effectively is paramount as is your ability to access information whilst speaking with your customers.

    Dealing with customers by telephone is increasingly a key part of many organisations customer service procedures. Your customers will have been able to prepare or think about what they want to say to you before making the call. You need to be ready to deal with this instantly.

    In addition, some calls will be made with the customer already in a negative frame of mind. This might be because of a perception that there will be an aggravating call waiting system to deal with or, because the customer is using the telephone as a means of sorting out a problem.

    An incoming call can be from a landline telephone, a mobile telephone, Internet telephone connections, video telephone systems or any other technology that involves a conversation at a distance. What is important is that you are able to deal with incoming calls and use effective communication skills to ensure your customers are satisfied with the outcome of each call they make. You need to consistently:

    use communication systems effectively establish rapport with customers who

    are calling

    deal effectively with customer questions and requests.

    Showing you are able to deal with incoming calls effectively will help your career as the telephone is a popular method of communication and you will be showing you can effectively deal with customers who you cannot see face to face.

    Note

    Where this unit includes knowledge and understanding dealt with in other units we have signposted you to the relevant sections. Please refer to these to supplement or start your learning.

    Showing you are able to deal with incoming calls effectively will help your career.

  • Deal with incoming telephone calls from customers

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    3

    Use communication systems effectively

    What you need to know and learn

    Why it is important to operate your telephone system effectively

    What your organisations guidelines and procedures are for the use of telecommunication equipment

    Why it is important to speak clearly and slowly when dealing with customers by telephone

    How to use the information you obtain from an incoming telephone call.

    Why it is important to operate your telephone system effectivelyThe telephone is a very popular form of communication in business today. There are many reasons why the telephone is often the preferred means of communication including the fact that it is a very immediate form of communication there is no delay in getting a response. Customers can telephone to seek advice, ask questions, provide information, buy products or services; while organisations can use the telephone to update customers on new products or services or to keep them informed of progress with existing transactions.

    Used properly, the telephone can be very effective. Used poorly, it can destroy customer satisfaction in a flash. Poor use of the phone can include not using the telephone system properly as well as not being careful about what is said during telephone conversations.

    If used properly, customers will be able to:

    achieve more in a five-minute telephone call than in an hour of travel to yourpremises

    save money as it will probably be cheaper to use the phone than to travel use the telephone for a variety of general queries as well as more

    complexissues.

    Telephone managementYou may not have a great deal of control over the location of telephone equipment, or the number of telephones, workstations and answering machines. However, it is vital these are all managed effectively by the people who do have responsibility, so let your manager or supervisor know if you are experiencing difficulties.

  • Deal with incom

    ing telephone calls from custom

    ers

    NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Customer Service

    Unit A11

    4

    There are, however, a number of things that you can control to make life easier when dealing with customers on the telephone. Some key pointers are shown in the checklist below.

    Checklist Telephone management

    Portfolio task Links to a11.1.1, a11b

    1 Think about the way in which you operate your organisations telecommunication equipment. Make a list of the key things you need to do when using the equipment.

    2 Make sure you include in your list the process you need to follow to report any faults with the equipment you use. Include any back-up procedures in place pending faults being fixed.

    3 Add to your list what you need to do to transfer a call to another person.

    4 Using your findings, explain to your assessor how you operate your organisations telecommunication equipment.

    5 Obtain witness testimonies which show you can operate telecommunication equipment efficiently and effectively.

    FunctionalskillsEnglish:WritingandSpeaking,listeningandcommunication

    You may be able to use your written list as evidence towards Level 1 Functional English: Writing. Your list should be effective preparation for a discussion with your assessor. So, make sure it is written in a logical format to help you to explain your findings clearly to your assessor using appropriate language. You may be able to count this as evidence towards Level 1 Functional English: Speaking, listening and communication.

    What your organisations guidelines and procedures are for the use of telecommunication equipmentAs well as telling you how to operate the telephone system, your organisation will probably also have guidelines and procedures relating to its use. This helps staff to know what is expected from them when taking an incoming call. The procedures help to create the right image with customers and to stop bad telephone manners happening.

    Having a standard telephone answering style will ensure customers get a consistently good level of service no matter who answers the phone.

    Keep your workspace tidy. Keep a list of frequently used numbers handy or

    store them in the telephone system.

    Know where and how to report faults. Know how to operate any back-up systems when

    faulty equipment is being fixed.

    Know where to access information on products or services and/or keep this information close to the telephone.

    Keep a supply of paper-based message-taking stationery near to the telephone for when electronic communication is not appropriate.

  • Deal with incoming telephone calls from customers

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    When taking calls you must:

    answer the telephone within 5 rings or 10 seconds use the standard greeting including introducing yourself with your full name and service area

    confirm the identity of the caller have easy access to a database of contact details for other staff (including their roles and responsibilities)

    keep message-taking materials handy use pre-printed message forms

    apologise if the caller is complaining and say it will be investigated (follow complaints procedures)

    seek permission from the caller if you need to put them on hold if transferring a call, do so by passing on the callers name and details

    if nobody is available to help, ask the caller if they wish to be called back or to call back themselves

    if the caller opts to call back later, give the full name and direct number for the person they need

    listen carefully speak clearly and slowly adapt your communication style to meet individual needs stay positive and say what you can do, not what you cannot do.

    When taking calls you must not:

    try to cope with some other task at the same time be rude, aggressive or unhelpful pass the blame or take offence if the caller is making a complaint

    transfer a call without telling your colleague who is on the line the name of the caller and the details of their query

    ignore a ringing phone put the answerphone on when there are staff available to help

    Best practiceManual 22

    Figure 1: Typical guidelines for handling incoming telephone calls

    Portfolio task Links to a11a

    1 Find out if your organisation has guidelines and procedures relating to the use of the telephone or other telecommunication equipment. Make a list of the key points.

    2 Using your findings, describe to your assessor your organisations guidelines and procedures for the use of telecommunication equipment.

    Figure 1 is an example of a typical set of guidelines an organisation might have. We expand on the areas outlined in this figure as you work through this unit.

  • Deal with incom

    ing telephone calls from custom

    ers

    NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Customer Service

    Unit A11

    6

    Why it is important

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