What Is Call Handling and Who Should Use It?

What Is Call Handling?

Call handling is a service that allows businesses to outsource their phone lines, or aspects of their phone answering, to a specialist service provider. A call handling company will answer the call and can provide a range of outcomes such as forwarding the call through to the client, booking an appointment, taking a payment, or arranging a call-out.

How is it different to telephone answering?

You might have already heard of a telephone answering service and wonder how a call handling service is different. 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. While there are some call answering companies that do more than this, the general rule is that telephone answering is message taking.

Call handling on the other hand is exactly that – it is handling an entire call from the moment the caller picks up the phone, to making sure the inquiry has been fully resolved. As such call handling can entail aspects like booking appointments, arranging engineer call-outs, and even providing customer service. A large percentage of the work a call handling company does can actually happen after the caller is off the line, as the operator resolves any issues that were raised during the call. Call handling provides a complete solution to the caller’s needs.

Why should businesses choose call handling?

When it comes down to it, call handling probably isn’t for everyone. While almost every business could benefit from a basic message taking service, the more complex nature of call handling means it is better suited to the needs of larger businesses, or SME’s with very specific or in depth requirements.

For example, call handling can be extremely beneficial in the legal industry. 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. With a basic message taking service, there is no guarantee the message will contain all the vital information, and fee earners will have to spend time asking these basic administrative questions every time they respond to a message.

Another example would be in the facilities management industry. A call handling service is 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. This would not be possible with a basic message taking service.

What is possible with call handling?

While most call handling 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 in to a business and direct them through to specific fee earners. 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 is still cheaper to answer and manage your own calls in house during the day, but when it comes to taking calls through the night it is more cost effective to outsource. One of the most fundamental ways to use a call handling service is to manage out of hours calls, or any overflow of calls when the lines get busy during the day.
  • Customer Service Lines
    With a customer service line, a call handling service will 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 even taking 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 booking an appointment to see a doctor through to booking a table at a restaurant.
  • 24/7 Helpdesk and Emergency Response
    A call handling service is a cost effective way to provide a 24/7 helpdesk. 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.

Call Handling with CALLCARE

At CALLCARE we specialise in providing a high standard of call handling from our FCA accredited contact centre. Despite being one of the UK’s leading call handlers, we only have 200 clients on our books. This is because we focus on providing the highest standard of service for our select client base.

We’re dedicated to helping organisations provide exceptional customer journeys for their clients and their callers. We achieve through 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 about call handling with CALLCARE, contact us today on 0345 055 8444. For more articles like this one, sign up to our mailing list.


Gemma Harding
Gemma Harding

As Head of Client Services Gemma is an expert in the telephone answering services industry.