Good call handling skills are necessary when handling inbound sales calls, but what are best practices for having an effective strategy?
Inbound call handlers have a lot of responsibilities when answering the phone at your business. They must make sure to answer promptly, greet the caller warmly, and inevitably book that caller into an appointment for your business by the end of the call, only to do it all over again when the phone rings next.
Handling Inbound Calls at Your Business
Call handlers are at the core of your business – they are the first impression that callers have, and are ultimately responsible for how many sales opportunities your company will have.
How do you ensure that a call handler has the skills needed to be successful? You must train, coach, set goals, and follow up regularly for call handlers to have great telephone call handling skills.
The Importance of Good Call Handling Skills
Call handling skills can be learned and must be practiced for your employees to improve on their phone calls. Simply being kind and answering questions on the call is not enough – the ultimate goal of your call handler is to win over that caller’s business and book an appointment by the end of the conversation.
Without good call handling skills, this most likely will not happen. Although callers phone your business because they have a need, they are still figuring out if your company is the one they will choose, or if they are just finding out details and “shopping around” for their perfect fit. It is the call handler’s job to convince them you are the right choice, and to earn their commitment.
Successful Call Handling Techniques
To have great phone calls that result in an appointment, there are some specific techniques to follow through with on every call. Although CallSource has our proprietary criteria for a great phone call, named the “Core Four Principles,” there are some particular areas of the phone call that your call handlers can start improving on now to make a significant difference in their calls.
Below are some key best practices and parts of the conversation where call handlers should excel to earn their caller’s commitment to an appointment with your business.
Have a Positive Tone
As soon as answering the phone, the first thing that any call handler should be thinking about is the tone of their voice. We like people who like us, and if the phone is answered with a negative, bored, or mundane tone, the caller is already going to be turned off.
It doesn’t matter if the call handler is tired, bored, distracted, thinking about lunch, or simply in a bad mood—they must be “on” when they are answering the phone to speak to a potential customer. If not, they may have already lost the call.
In a study by Dr. Mehrabian, it was found that only 7% of the message people receive in a conversation is dependent on the words you use. Interestingly, 38% is reflected in tone of voice and 55% is made up of facial expression or body language. Since body language and facial expressions are not apparent on a phone call, this makes the tone of your voice the most important part of conversing on a telephone call.
Once the phone is answered with a confident tone, it is important next to make the caller feel important, not like they are just another individual ringing through. Besides offering their own name, the call handler should ask for the caller’s name as well. This part of the greeting, as well as throughout the rest of the call, should feel genuine and flow easily – they should not be speaking as if they are just ticking off boxes of questions they must ask.
In How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, he says: “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” This is why after asking for the caller’s name, it is also vital to use it throughout the call—in a natural way. If you overuse their name it’ll make you sound disingenuous. Every call is different, and every caller has their own personality—treat them this way.
Although call handlers must ensure to treat each caller with respect and friendliness, it is still imperative that the call handler stays in control of the conversation, and does not give too much leeway to the caller. This conversation is the employees’ job to lead, and at the end of the call, the phone handler needs to receive a commitment from the caller.
The call handler can be informative as well as answer any questions the caller has while still having control of the conversation; (s)he must make sure that they are leading the caller to the ultimate endgame—setting an appointment with the business, while still leaving a positive impression.
It is likely that callers will have some type of objection when it comes to the part of the conversation where the appointment should be set. This is another reason why staying in control of the conversation is imperative.
By showing your company’s value and explaining your appointment process, you can help to overcome any objections before they even come up, but if the caller still does show a sort of objection such as scheduling issues or wanting to call back, the call handler must be prepared for those, too. Work internally to come up with phrases and talk-tracks to use for some of the most common objections that call handlers come across with callers at your business.
Improve Your Inbound Calls
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