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16 Tips to Ensure Outstanding Call Center Etiquette

Effective and excellent call center etiquette can go a long way in securing valuable customers and leads. However, you may have noticed that the rules are constantly changing. In this post, we detail the dos and don’ts of call center etiquette and how you can offer an outstanding call center experience. Read on to learn more!

Top Tips for Excellent Call Center Etiquette

How call center agents conduct themselves during calls can determine customer satisfaction and retention. Poor etiquette leads to bad customer service and low caller satisfaction. Call center etiquette can be divided into four different phases of the call such as:

  • Answering the call.
  • Speaking to customers and identifying issues.
  • Transferring customers to another agent or supervisor.
  • Ending the call.

In each of these phases, you must demonstrate professionalism, concern, and a desire to genuinely assist your caller. We’ll look at each of these phases individually and the different aspects to keep in mind to ensure you are providing outstanding call center etiquette. Learn more about promising customer service tips here.

When Answering the Call

The speed at which you answer the call as well as your tone can determine how the rest of the call goes. If you take too long or answer the call in a rushed manner, callers will immediately be put off. Keep these tips in mind as well:

1. Answer the Call Promptly
Customers do not like to be kept waiting when they are trying to reach customer support. Always answer the call on the second or third ring. Any longer than that, they may feel frustrated and abandon the call. Additionally, if it is too hard to reach your business time and time again, that customer will likely switch over to a competitor instead.

2. Greet with a Friendly Tone
Always greet callers with a positive attitude. Callers can sense your inflection on the phone. Smiling while you’re on a call is an old trick that conveys a friendly tone through the phone. Starting a call with a positive attitude encourages the same from the caller on the other line.

If someone is distraught about their product and in need of help, your positivity will help ease their frustrations because they will know by your tone that you are eager to help. You do not need to go overboard with this. A simple greeting like “Hello, you’ve reached (name of company) my name is ___, how can I help you today?” will suffice.

Identifying the Issue

Next up is taking the time to listen to your caller and identify the issue. This means you should key into their emotions and being empathetic while clearly understanding what the problem is. After all, if you do not know what is concerning them, you may not be able to help effectively.

3. Adopt Active Listening
Let them explain and describe the issue to you before you repeat it. Nothing frustrates a customer more than an employee that is not paying attention to them and seems in a rush to finish the call. Take time to understand where they are coming from and what the problem is. Reinforce your understanding by showing you have heard their situation and are working on a resolution.

4. Identify the Issue
Once you think you have a good handle over what the issue is, confirm it with them. Reiterate the problem as best as you understand it. Something like, “So, from what you are telling me, I understand that you are having an issue with . . .” or “. . . that you would like to . . .” This will help you ensure you have thoroughly understood the issue and will also demonstrate to the caller that you have been paying attention.

5. Be Patient and Helpful
Always be patient. Whether they are taking too long to explain the problem or are repeating themselves, your patience will determine whether this customer returns or not. When a client calls a company, it is more than likely to resolve an issue. Patiently listen to them. If you are unable to help them, transfer them to the correct department.

Transferring the Call or Placing the Caller on Hold

Most callers do not enjoy being placed on hold or transferred to another employee. Unfortunately, at times, it is necessary to transfer the call to someone who can handle it better or place them on hold so you can find the right information and help them better. Here are rules to observe when transferring a call or placing it on hold:

6. Determine Who to Transfer to
Again, listening intently to what their needs are will help you determine what department to send them to. After all, customers will only get more agitated if they need support but you sent them to sales.

7. Explain Why They Need to be Transferred
Most callers do not like to be bounced around. However, sometimes it is inevitable, especially if they reached the wrong department, to begin with. Explain to your caller why they need to be transferred to another department or employee.

8. During the Transfer
When you transfer a phone call, make sure that there is someone in that department available to take the call. Stay on the phone with your caller until someone answers and then you can introduce the caller to this new department. Do not abandon your caller till they have someone who can take care of them.

9. Ask Before Placing on Hold
Before you put someone on hold, ask them for their permission. Instead of saying “I’m going to put you on hold now” or nothing at all, say “Would it be alright if I put you on hold for a brief moment?” Then wait for an answer.

10. Use The Hold Button Appropriately
Make sure you and your teams know how to use the hold button so there is no confusion. For example, when you place someone on hold while you speak to another customer, the person on hold should not hear you speaking with the other customer or hear employees in the background. Hold music or a custom message can be played when they are on hold, instead.

11. Do Not Place Callers on Hold for Too Long
Do not leave someone on hold for a long time. If they are waiting to speak to someone in particular who is not available, inform them that they will be waiting for a certain period of time. If the wait exceeds 2-5 minutes, check in to let them know you have not forgotten about them but are taking longer to find what they need. If they do not want to stay on hold for long, encourage them to call back later or offer to call them when you have the information or person available.

call center software
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Ending the Call

The last part of maintaining good call center etiquette focuses on how to end a call. This largely depends on how the call went. Were you able to resolve everything or is a follow-up required?

12. End The Call Politely

Always aim to end the call on a “high note.” If something needs your attention right away, offer to call the person back and let them know you will finish the conversation after you have dealt with this urgent matter.

When the conversation has come to a natural end, ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. If yes, proceed to assist. If no, thank them for their call. An example of a good way to end a phone call is, “Thank you so much for calling (company) today, I hope you enjoy your weekend.” Or, “It was a pleasure speaking with you, I’m glad that we could help you out today. Have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Additionally, if your company asks for surveys post calls, ask your caller if they would be interested in participating in a brief survey. And respect their wishes, whichever way they lean.

Do not rush them off the phone, and always wait for the customer to hang up before you hang up.

13. Offer Follow-Up Information
Alternatively, if a follow-up is required, let them know how to expect it. Will you send an email or phone call reminder? Should they call you back instead of your company contacting them? Either way, make sure that you have the information they need when the follow-up occurs.

Additional Call Center Etiquette

In addition to the above points, there are some other aspects of call center etiquette to pay attention to, such as call management and training.

14. Training Employees and Agents
So that agents know what they are supposed to do and how to best help customers, they need to be trained well. This includes:

    • Training new employees, even those that come with experience
    • Offering refresher courses and workshops to current employees periodically
    • Using call recording to record and review interactions
    • Conduct regular performance analysis
    • Provide access to seminars and training programs

15. Making a Call
Employees should be trained to make calls professionally. Be sure to introduce yourself and the reason for your call right away. Provide them with all the necessary details at the beginning of the call.

Leaving a voicemail is similar to making a call. Even with the voicemail, introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call. Also include contact details such as a phone number and, if needed, a time frame for them to call you back.

16. Forward Your Phone To Voicemail
If you are out of your office, send all incoming phone calls immediately to your voicemail so that the caller knows that you are unavailable. Having a caller sit through 20 rings before realizing that you’re not going to answer is impolite and leaves the caller with a negative feeling. Your voicemail should state who you are and when you will be back. An instant and informative voicemail saves the caller time and allows them the option of leaving a message or calling back at a more convenient time.

Offer Better Customer Service with the Right Etiquette

If you don’t try to do the best you can, chances are, you will miss the buck. To gain new customers and convert them into regulars and to treat your regulars like royalty, your call center etiquette needs to be on-point. Make the necessary changes, implement a strategy for continuous education, and watch as your business grows!

Related: 5 Surefire Ways to Improve Virtual Call Center CSAT Scores

Call Center QA: Effective Quality Assurance Strategies

When running a call center, it is important to pay attention to Call Center Quality Assurance (QA). Call Center QA is a process that focuses on and ensures customer service and interactions are aligned with business goals. QA is customer-centric. That is, it is concerned with understanding customer issues and concerns, improving customer experience, and improving communication. QA is typically conducted by identifying ideal customer service agent behavior. Maintaining a good schedule and interacting in a professional tone are just a few ways to achieve good customer service.

Call Center QA

It is best to look at QA as an on-going process. This way, customer service agents or representatives will be motivated to always be on their best and most efficient behavior. Representatives should be made aware that their calls, emails, and chats are being recorded. This is important because these are the most crucial areas of customer communication that affect the business.

Essential QA Strategies

There are different ways to ensure good customer service practices benefit your company. Analyzing call and customer metrics include monitoring average response times, call logs, handling times, customer ratings, etc. You can determine QA data through assessments made by team leaders.

Call Center QA Effective Quality Assurance Strategies
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Training and Motivating Your Agents

You should make call recording a significant part of the supervisory process. This way, you can review calls with customer service agents and help them identify areas to improve. Here you can also encourage and acknowledge their strengths, keeping them content and motivated to continue their good work. Additionally, knowing their calls are being recorded will give them an incentive to do a commendable job.

Appointment setters are responsible for contacting leads to generate appointments. Essentially, the company suffers if the appointment setter is unable to do their job. So, how do you make sure that appointment setters do a good job? Train them to learn the script and sound excited about the product they are offering. It is important that they are knowledgeable of the product so they can efficiently answer customer questions. Additionally, they should have the ability to listen to their customers’ doubts and queries. This way, they can make the customer feel heard and respected. Finally, they should send email confirmations with important details immediately after phone conversations.

Another way to train your agents is through evaluation. Evaluating agents will ensure they understand what is expected of them and are able to meet your standards. When assessing an agent’s interaction with a customer, using a Call Center QA Form will help you judge important elements. Here are some examples of assessment questions:

  • Did the agent greet the customer?
  • Did the agent ask questions to understand the customer’s needs?
  • Did the agent answer the customer’s questions accurately?
  • Did the agent follow protocol?
  • Did the agent display a professional, yet empathetic manner?

With questions like these, one can evaluate the agent’s strengths and weaknesses, and rectify areas that need refinement.

Utilizing Customer Feedback

Customer service feedback provides companies with a good idea of the customer’s perspective. With such feedback, companies can understand what they are doing well and which areas need improvement. To improve call center productivity, use recordings to compile data to set future goals and develop more effective approaches. Here, you can also identify frequently asked questions and develop customized messages to save time. Using an interactive voice menu can also answer questions by letting customers select a number to hear frequently asked questions. Such interactive voice responses (IVRs) can be set up by your virtual phone number provider and they are highly customizable.

You can also utilize call recordings to learn more about your customers and their preferences. For instance, how do they respond to certain questions? Why do they prefer one product over the other? What issues or concerns do they have? Are they asking for a product or service your company doesn’t offer and should you consider investing in it?

Consider Virtual Phone Numbers For Your Call Center

In conclusion, virtual call center software solutions focus on increasing productivity and reducing time spent on answering calls. Virtual numbers also make it easy to facilitate remote agents. Therefore, enabling you to host your call center from anywhere. Global Call Forwarding provides virtual phone numbers with additional features such as call recording, call transfer, IVR, customized greetings, and more. Call Global Call Forwarding 1-888-908-6171 for help with your call center QA today!

FreedomVoice vs Global Call Forwarding Business Phone Service and Pricing

Need a service that provides a VoIP phone number and a number of useful features without breaking the bank? It’s probably reassuring then, to know many different business phone services are available to choose from. FreedomVoice and Global Call Forwarding are two of the most competitive options out there. If you don’t know which company to choose for your business phone number needs, keep reading. In this article, we provide information to find out more about the best business phone deals. This way, you can confidently choose the best phone service providers on a global scale.

The Similarities Between the FreedomVoice and Global Call Forwarding

Both FreedomVoice and Global Call Forwarding offer some of the same business phone solutions. The feature we’ll focus on in this article is VoIP phone numbers. Essentially, these are phone numbers with any local area code in the nation. And, you can use them to reach specific audience bases. Plus, since they route over the internet, they don’t require you to purchase big, expensive telephone systems. Rather, they give businesses the capability of using any type of business phone system. These systems include cloud-based systems, PBX phone systems, and even mobile devices.

Both organizations can provide these numbers with easy installation. And, both organizations offer virtual phone numbers that are easy to use. However, there are some differences between these companies. And, recognizing these differences could save you and your business loads of time, money, and energy.

Comparing the Pricing of Each Business Phone Service

Companies that offer great business phone services, like Global Call Forwarding, deal with business owners who strive for success. To be successful, a business should look for ways to save money on the services they use every day. So, comparing VoIP service pricing is important. Especially if you have a business that relies on making or receiving business phone calls. When it comes to pricing for VoIP numbers, there is a difference between FreedomVoice and Global Call Forwarding.

What FreedomVoice Costs

According to their website, FreedomVoice offers three different pricing structures. The first comes with 400 minutes to use and is priced at $9.95 per month. The second is a plan that comes with 1,200 minutes and is priced at $19.95 per month. With either of these two plans, you can go over the allotted number of minutes. But, the company will charge you an extra 3.9 cents for every additional minute you use. For companies that do more phone business, there is an unlimited minute plan that costs $29.95 per individual user. However, this plan is designed for businesses who have four employees or fewer.

FreedomVoice vs Global Call Forwarding Business Phone Service and Pricing
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What Global Call Forwarding Costs

On the other hand, Global Call Forwarding also offers various pricing packages to choose from. The first starts at only $7.95 a month, which is less than what FreedomVoice offers. This means you can have a virtual phone number for your business for less than $8 a month depending on the type of service and phone number. Furthermore, you also can choose the applications, features, and phone numbers you need. This way, you only pay for what you use, rather than what your phone service provider wants you to pay. Plus, with no hidden fees and a transparent pricing structure, you always know what to expect with billing. And, you’ll never run into costly surprises, like you would with competitors.

Get a VoIP Phone Number for Business Today

Think that a VoIP phone number is what you need to take your business to the next level? Don’t regret your phone service provider decision. Go with the company that can customize a phone service to meet your exact business needs: Global Call Forwarding. When you choose us as your business phone service provider, you can take advantage of our 15-day free trial. This way, you can see if a VoIP phone number is what you need. And, do so without having to commit or even pay a single cent. Furthermore, there are no contracts. So, there is no commitment and you can cancel your plan at any time, for any reason. Finally, take advantage of the best business phone deals available by getting a discount for high volume orders. This means that if you need more than one virtual phone number, there could be even more savings in store! To get started with your VoIP phone numbers through Global Call Forwarding, reach out to us now.

Call Center KPIs: 12 Metrics to Track for Customer Success

Which call center KPIs are necessary to help you understand how your business is performing and how satisfied your customers are? The following is a list of 12 important call center metrics to consider.

Call Center Standard KPIs: Important Metrics to Track

Call center KPIs or key performance indicators are metrics to help you measure how well your business is doing and what areas need improvement. KPIs are business-specific. Therefore, it is important to select them wisely by considering the strategic interests of your business. There are four basic areas to consider:

  • Affordability and sustainability of the call center
  • Maximizing your customers’ experience
  • Improved business outcomes
  • Efficient use of your human resources

The following is a list of call center KPIs to consider for your contact center. Identify the right KPIs for your business and strive towards a better success rate.

1. Average Time in the Queue

This call center KPI represents the total time callers wait to speak to an agent divided by the total number of calls. Reducing wait times should be every business’ top priority. Customer frustration increases with increasing queue time. Additionally, this gives the impression that your business has poor customer service. And unhappy customers won’t hesitate to find a business that can cater to them faster.

2. Service Level or Response Time

Service level is the percentage of calls answered within a specified period. More specifically, it is the number of calls attended to within a specified number of seconds. Call center managers often set a service level goal such as 90/30 (i.e., 90% of the calls are answered within 30 seconds). Some consider service level one of the most important call center KPIs since it is closely related to customer service.

3. Percentage of Calls Blocked

As the name suggests, this is the percentage of incoming calls that are blocked. Or in other words, calls not connected to an agent. Either the agents were busy or the call center software could not handle the call volume. Blocked calls lead to customer dissatisfaction and possible loss of future business.

4. Average Speed of Answer

This metric measures the amount of time taken to answer a call during a certain time frame. This includes the sum of time in the queue and time spent waiting for the agent to answer their call. It does not, however, consider the time the caller spends interacting with the business’ IVR. This metric helps measure the efficiency and accessibility of the call center team.

5. Average Handle Time

This is one of the most commonly measured call center KPIs. The average handle time is calculated by adding the agents’ talk and hold time to their post-call work time and then dividing this sum by the number of calls handled by the agent. Managers trying to reduce the average handle time must be careful in their approach as customer satisfaction could be affected. There are several steps to improve the average handle time:

  • Thorough training and coaching of agents
  • Continuous monitoring of agents’ performance
  • Recording of calls
  • Streamlining agent workflow and processes
  • Optimizing call routing
  • Using a detailed and useful knowledge base
  • Utilizing an internal communication system
  • Ensuring customer information is current

6. First Call Resolution

First call resolution occurs when a customer’s query is satisfied during their initial call, and follow-up is not necessary. Research suggests that this metric has a greater positive impact on customer satisfaction than any other KPI.

7. Average Abandonment Rate

The call abandonment rate is a measure of the number of times customers hang-up or abandon calls before reaching an agent. Long wait times, confusing IVR systems, jarring hold music, etc., can lead to a high call abandonment rate. Customers gravitate to companies that are easy to reach in a timely fashion.

8. Average After Call Work Time

After a call is completed, agents complete tasks such as sending out confirmation emails, updating databases and CRMs, and contacting call center teammates. This time spent after a call is referred to as average after call work time. Oftentimes, this can take up a lot of an agent’s time and managers are constantly trying to find ways to reduce this time. Easy-to-use and efficient CRMs where all these activities can be completed through one platform can help reduce the time spent on completing these activities.

9. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction rates or a CSAT score is one of the most important call center KPIs. These scores are important to measure as they can give you insight into how customers are interacting with or enjoying your service. Good customer satisfaction rates mean that your employees are doing a good job, leaving customers happy and satisfied. Companies can measure customer satisfaction or CSAT scores through customer surveys (email, phone, in-app).

10. Occupancy Rate

Occupancy rate measures the total time agents are on calls or completing other work-related tasks divided by the total work time. In other words, this metric measures how long an agent is occupied with work. Optimizing occupancy rates is one of the top goals of any call center manager. However, this can lead to heavy workloads and overburdened employees.

11. Agent Absenteeism

Agent absenteeism is, as the name suggests, the percent of days an agent is absent from work over the total number of contracted days. This KPI can provide insights when budgeting or planning ways to optimize agent work. Human resource personnel routinely track the days lost from work for all call center employees. Effective call center operations minimize absenteeism.

12. Agent Turnover Rate

This is another important call center KPI to pay attention to. The agent turnover rate is the percentage of agents that quit their employment. This can be due to a range of factors: monotonous work, no rewards or incentives, excessive workload, and so on. Keeping employees and agents happy can lead to better CSAT scores and improve sales or profits.

Which of These Call Center KPIs Does Your Business Need?

Global call center metrics can help you determine how satisfied your customers and employees are as well as how efficient your business is. Now based on your business and its requirements, identify which of these call center KPIs do you need to track. Once you make a list of necessary KPIs to measure, start tracking through helpful software, and watch your business improve!