What is Call Handling? The Complete Guide
Organizations can structure their business better when both inbound and outbound calls are well managed. Your business can make use of call handling services, enabled by agents to attend to callers while keeping track of your activities.
This article discusses what call handling means, how it works, the differences between inbound and outbound calls, and the benefits of using call handling services.
What is Call Handling?
Call handling involves a well-structured and detailed process of managing phone calls within an organization. These include both outbound and inbound calls which have varying advantages.
The outbound call is often made to function with an agent who initiates the call and then decides what information to be called and who to be called. For the inbound calls, though it cannot be determined who is the subject of the conversation, it still allows more calls which helps resolve issues more efficiently. Thus, call handling helps in compartmentalizing calls in an organization.
How Does Call Handling Work?
Call handling works by optimizing its functions to help the inbound and outbound calls. It takes the peculiarities of the organization when it comes to business size, objectives, industries, and even the location.
For small organizations, the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is combined with an auto-attendant feature that automates certain features. It automatically greets the callers, then forwards their calls to the appropriate department to meet their reasons for calling.
On the other hand, large organizations employ the use of more complex call handling processes to route calls to a call center. The call handling requires a location or skills-based call routing feature that allows for an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or any other multi-level automated attendant.
The call handling features go beyond just asking the callers to follow a command, it has other features. They could allow a dial-by-name directory, call recording, on-hold music, etc.
What’s the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Call Handling?
Call handling covers both inbound and outbound calls and here is what makes them different:
Inbound Call Handling
Inbound call handling covers all the processes of incoming calls to your organization. Inbound calls function by a caller dialing indirectly or a “click-to-call” link on your website. It also supports the automation of the phone systems in case it is a large organization with enough customer databases.
Inbound call handling automatically routes the incoming calls to the right agent and the proper department. For the agent at the receiving end, the caller’s details are allowed to pop up on the screen before answering.
However, if your organization manages mostly incoming calls, then customer-focused features are to be prioritized. These features include self-service tools and intelligent call routing.
Outbound Call Handling
Outbound call handling is when an employee or agent calls someone that does not belong to your organization. The call has to be done using the business phone system for reasons such as customer service, sales, or collections.
Unlike inbound call handling, outbound calls for collections or sales require a varying call handling feature. There is a need for a power dialer that automates the calling process for the agent on duty.
However, just like inbound calling, it has a pop-up feature that appears on the screen once the call is initiated to show the callers’ details. The customer’s information is displayed before, during, and after the call has ended.
It is also integrated with certain customer relationship management (CRM) programs like calendar, or help desk software. These programs complete the contact tools to help enhance the experience while calling out.
Benefits of Call Handling
Here are some of the advantages of getting the call handling system:
Improved Customer Satisfaction
The call handling enables a better customer experience as it allows the agent to see all the customer’s details at a glance when attending to them. It also helps direct the customer’s query directly to the right channel through other automated features integrated into the call.
The call handling allows maximizing the time spent on a call or the time receiving a call by an agent by distinguishing who is required to be on a call. Research by SalesForce discovered that 80% of customers consider their experience before engaging an organization. Also, it is easier to escalate an issue that is beyond those at the call center to the right department for a better experience.
Increases team productivity and saves money
Call handling services reduce the time that is spent by the organization on manual data entry processes. The automated data entry feature uses the customer’s details to ensure that the agents can refer to them while on call.
All calls can also be optimized by establishing a pattern in which the calls come in and should be answered. Repeated call handling by agents gets them better equipped to receive and handle requests.
Enables data-based decisions
The calls made and received using a call handling service are recorded for future purposes. The data collected can be used in setting goals when hiring as they can serve as training materials for new customer care agents or interns that are looking to learn.
It can also be used to make result-oriented business decisions based on their frequent inquiries. They can be used to measure the customers’ needs and even schedule tasks for follow-up for open cases in the organization.
Depending on the size and how busy an organization is, employees may be unable to give full attention to the calls. The call handling services come with agents that are dedicated to receiving business calls and helping out with possible inquiries.
Also, the call center agents are well trained to answer calls and deal with inquiries even in difficult situations. Call centers are known to hold a consistent level of services when integrated into an organization.
Software integration features
They integrate with several customer management programs to help place everything under the same database. The call handling services properly sync with the organization’s calendar, contact list, or even help desk software.
The software integration feature helps the agents stay informed about all that concerns the client on call. All of this creates an avenue for the customers to feel prioritized when dealing with your business or talking to an agent.
Call Handling Pros & Cons
Check out some of the pros and cons of using the call handling services below:
|Provides more organizational insight into their operations.||For more complex routing rules and systems, the setup could take time.|
|Includes a real-time dashboard and key metrics to help provide insights.||Requires staff training to navigate new call handling features.|
|Allows for a faster onboard scheduling system.||Requires an immediate switch into a VoIP system from a landline.|
|Integrates with other management systems.|
Call Handling Best Practices
To properly maximize the call handling services, there are certain practices to stick with. Here are some of those practices:
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are designed as a metric to help identify certain inadequacies in an organization. It allows for better processes, efficient training of new staff, changing how calls are handled, etc. All of these come in handy during scheduling and the entire hiring process.
Some of the important KPIs to monitor include:
- First call resolution (FCR)
- Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Average call transfer rate
- Abandoned call rate
- Cost per contact
- Average handle time (AHT)
Thus, as an organization, this is one practice that is best integrated into the call handling service.
Integration of Customer tools with Business Phones
Even though call handling can function without the integration of other tools, they can ease the customer relation process.
This practice is reliant on a successful management process that allows your agents to have access to the caller’s details before they pick up the call. Help desks and CRM integrations connected with the VoIP business phone systems provide access to every customer’s details while they are on the line.
Follow-up Services / Identifying Repeat Callers
The call handling process should also be used to improve the other activities in the organization. After a call, the customer service agents can keep calling notes that can help with setting reminders for a follow-up. Managers and supervisors can review the past phone calls that can improve the call handling for future calls.
Conducting call analytics and automatic reminders can help the organization connect with clients at the appropriate time. It can be used to monitor the outcomes at different call times.
There are callers that have open cases, yet to achieve resolutions or just repeat callers should be identified. Those that call within five days of their previous calls should be flagged and then routed to the right specialized agent or one that can resolve the reason for their call. Such agents can be empowered to then get on their follow-up commitments to ensure everything is resolved.
Handling New Customers
New customers have questions about the organization and certain issues arise which necessitate frequent calls. The call handling service would function better when the new customers are identified and attended to especially. They are then routed to the right agent trained in orienting or educating new customers.
As an organizational practice, it works in collecting customer details as they are filled out when in contact with your business. It helps take out common questions from being asked over again.
Priority Queuing Time
Identifying customers that are high-value is important as they make up a substantial part of the organization’s income. This practice means selecting agents that are specialized in identifying and attending to those high-value customers. They could be assigned a priority queuing time that places them higher than regular customers.
As a practice, it personalizes the services being offered by your business to ensure that the high-value customers are retained.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the FAQs about the call handling solutions:
Does my business need call handling?
Yes. Your business needs the call-handling features as it creates an optimized way of handling communication in and out of the organization. They also combine with other processes in the organization to have all your customers’ details in one place for a better experience and building loyalty.
What is the importance of call handling?
Call handling as a solution creates an avenue for remarkable customer experiences. It allows for automated features like a professional greeting, personalized interactions, and reliable call routing enablement. For your organization, the customers would feel better appreciated and prove their loyalty by returning unlike when having had a bad calling experience.
How can I improve my call handling even more?
The processes of your call handling could be customized to fit your organizational peculiarities and customers’ needs. It begins by providing certain automated features that improve the quality of the business phone system. You can go further by training your agents or staff on how to use the features like answering calls, how to handle difficult solutions, and demonstrating empathy.
What are call handling skills?
Call handling skills are connected to methods used in communicating, getting through varying technologies, and resolving disputes. Asides from picking up the phone or listening to customers’ queries, the agents should be well informed about all that your organization is offering.
Thus, there is a need for training exercises for the agents to use the new phone system’s call handling features. The past phone calls can also be used to assess their skills and improve how they handle situations.
Final Thoughts on Call Handling
Call handling services are often functional in collaboration with a Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) and then sync with other customer management tools. They can help make data-driven decisions as they call recording features.
Are you willing to try out a call handling service? You can get a call handling service to work with ULTATEL’s cloud solution as it provides everything that your organization needs for a better experience.