Published on 14th March 2017
What is call handling?
Call handling is a service that allows businesses to outsource their inbound calls or aspects of their phone answering to a specialist service provider.
Call handling is a service for business that allows them to outsource their inbound calls. The call handling provider will answer calls on behalf of your business and ensure all enquiries are dealt with in the most appropriate way. This could include:
- Forwarding calls to the appropriate department
- Booking appointments
- Taking payments
- Arranging call-outs
How is it different to telephone answering?
While neither term is set in stone, you’ll generally see the phrase “telephone answering service” used by companies that offer a basic name, number and message-taking service.
Call handling, on the other hand, is exactly that: handling an entire call from the moment the caller picks up the phone until the inquiry has been fully resolved.
A large percentage of the work a call handler does happen after the call has finished. Operators are responsible for resolving any issues that were raised during the call, whether that’s arranging an engineer call-out or processing a payment.
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Why should businesses choose call handling?
While almost every business could benefit from a basic message-taking service, the more complex nature of handling calls means it is better suited to the needs of larger businesses, or SMEs with very specific or in-depth requirements.
For example, outsourcing your inbound calls can be extremely beneficial in the legal sector. Legal firms will often need a large amount of information to be taken from their calls, as this saves fee earners time when they respond to the inquiries.
A call handling service will create a framework that allows their operators to manage the conversation, and ensures all the required information is taken from the call.
Another example would be in the facilities management industry. We’re able to run a 24/7 help desk on behalf of a client, and even arrange for engineers to be called out to a property to deal with an emergency.
This allows facilities management firms to meet their service level agreements in a cost-effective way, which wouldn’t be possible with a basic message-taking service.
What is possible with call handling?
While most contracts are relatively bespoke, pulling together different elements to create a package specific to the client, there are certain core elements of call handling that feature time and again.
- Switchboard and reception services – With a switchboard and reception service, a call handler will take all of the calls coming into a business and direct them through to specific members of staff. If the preferred recipient is unavailable they can take a message which is emailed over in real time.
- Overflow and out-of-hours – In many situations, it’s still cheaper to answer and manage your own calls in-house during the day, but outsourcing is most cost-effective outside of business hours. One of the most fundamental ways to use call handlers is to manage out-of-hours calls, or any overflow of calls when the lines get busy during peak times.
- Customer service lines – Customer service lines fully integrate with a client’s systems so they can provide complete customer service solutions. This can include tasks such as tracking parcels, providing advice and processing customer complaints.
- Diary management and appointment booking – With a diary management service, the operator taking the call will log into a diary or calendar so they can book and rearrange appointments on behalf of the caller. This has a wide range of applications, from patients changing their doctor’s appointments to customers looking to book a table at a restaurant.
- 24/7 helpdesk and emergency response – A call handling service is a cost-effective way to provide 24-hour customer support. This is particularly important for companies that have a service level agreement with their client that states they must respond to emergencies within a set period of time.
Handle your calls more efficiently with CALLCARE
At CALLCARE, we specialise in providing a high standard of call handling from our FCA-accredited contact centres.
We’re dedicated to helping organisations provide exceptional customer journeys for their clients and their callers. We’re able to deliver unrivalled service to our customers thanks to the high level of training we provide to our staff and the high level of care and attention paid by our account managers.
For more information, contact us today on 0345 055 8444.
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