Virtual receptionists can be the perfect customer service solution for any business, but it all depends on how they interact with your callers on the phone. Virtual receptionists are often the voice of a business, figuratively and literally, so any bad habits in how they handle calls reflect poorly on your whole company. Here are the top 6 bad habits that can make your callers cringe and question how professionally you run your business:
Your callers have no idea that your phones have been ringing off the hook, or that the caller before them was rude to the receptionist who fielded that call. And honestly, they shouldn’t know because it shouldn’t affect how they are treated. All that matters is why they are calling and how the virtual receptionist is going to help them in the most efficient and effective way possible. Communicating anything beyond that falls into the “too much information” category and is unprofessional.
Talking too fast
We get it that receptionists are busy, especially when more than one call comes in at a time. But speeding through greetings and questions frustrates callers and usually results in having to repeat information. Virtual receptionists should remember to slow down and speak clearly in a cheerful, professional voice.
Telling, not asking to put on hold
No caller enjoys being put on hold, but there are times that it’s inevitable. If your virtual receptionist needs to put a caller on hold, he or she should first ask for permission from the caller. Saying, “I’ll connect you to Mr. Jones, may I put you on hold while I do so?” or, “May I put you on hold while I find out the answer to your question?” is received much more positively than “Hold please.”
Saying “I don’t know”
While it may very well be true that a virtual receptionist doesn’t know the answer to a caller’s question, simply saying “I don’t know” erodes the caller’s confidence that the receptionist is capable of taking care of them. If a receptionist doesn’t know the answer, saying, “That’s a great question and I want to be sure I get you the right answer. May I put you on hold while I find out?” or, “May I call you back shortly with that information?” is much more professional.
Losing control of the tone
Virtual receptionists are responsible for establishing and maintaining a calm, friendly tone with each call, even if the caller is angry or rude. Responding with impatience or even retorts only escalates the situation. Instead, virtual receptionists should remain calm and offer empathy and a solution. For example, saying, “I can imagine that was very frustrating for you, here’s how we can fix that” reassures the caller and keeps the call productive.
Failing to verify information
It should be standard practice to repeat information back to a caller when taking a message. A virtual receptionist should double-check key components of a call such as the caller’s name and number, the reason for calling, and next steps that need to be taken. Callers rarely get irritated if they are kindly asked, “Your information is important to us and I want to make sure I have it right, so may I repeat it back to you?”
These are just 6 of many bad call-handling habits that could be reflecting poorly on your business. If your receptionists are overwhelmed and not able to consistently manage the best phone habits, it may be time to consider outsourcing your calls to the virtual receptionists at a live answering service.
If you’d like to learn more about how live virtual receptionists can handle your calls with the most professional etiquette, contact Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. Our customized communication solutions, secure HIPAA/HiTech messaging, and appointment scheduling can save you time and money while increasing customer loyalty.
We offer month-to-month service agreements to meet the needs of any business regardless of size. Our excellent reputation, expert staff, and state-of-the-art facilities in Columbus and LaGrange, Georgia, will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.