Tips On Inbound Call Management - Birchills Blog
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Tips On Inbound Call Management

Tips On Inbound Call Management shown by perplexed lady on phone
Like everything else in telephony "managing call forwarding and messaging" has a fancy name, it’s called inbound call management. With call centres it involves not only managing the calls but looking at the speed of handling, delays and efficiency. For the majority of our customers it is a lot simpler, it's all about making sure your customers have a good experience on the phones and regard you as being professional.

So, what can and should you do?

IF YOU CAN TAKE THE CALL
 
If you or your staff are available to take the call you can either:

1)     Place the call in a  call queue and which then rings your extensions until answered
You can have:
     a)  Ring all – all extensions ring when the call comes in
     b) Cascade – extension 101 rings and if not answered extension 102  rings and so on

You can group extensions into ring groups, as well, if you want.

This is usually considered to be the best way forward - customers get answered as fast as your staff can cope with them. If they are delayed for a while the system will let them know where they are in the queue.
 
2)     Use a voice menu (also called IVR or auto attendant) i.e. "press 1 for sales press 2 for accounts"
This allows your customers to be guided to the correct operator. It is generally fine if there are a couple of options, but many more and you instantly have unhappy customers. Sitting through endless voice mail options is painful. If you would like to hear how bad it can get you could try phoning Barclays Bank on 03457 345 345.  Or for an example of how we think it should be done, try phoning us on 01922 21 33 33 - there are only two options.
 
You can combine both the voice menu and call queue in complex setups. That way the voice menu will drop the caller into a queue.  Again, if it is done correctly that is fine but if abused it can be really unpleasant for the caller. A really bad example is Sage on 0191 294 3000. I have spent many an unhappy hour being told that the "Call levels are unusually high". I do wonder when the call levels aren't unusually high.

IF YOU CAN'T TAKE A CALL

If you or your staff are not available to take the call you can either:
1)     Direct the call to an alternative number for example a mobile
2)     Direct the call to a voice mail box to take a message

You can set time based rules to determine how a call is handled as well. So many customers have different messages for Christmas, Out of Hours, Bank Holidays and so on

PROFESSIONAL MESSAGES

You can have:
Greeting messages
Out of hours and holiday messages
On hold messages
Voice menu messages
Voice mail messages

The more professional the messages the more professional you appear. Using music is good if it is done well. Be warned there are companies who will rent you professionally recorded voice messages at absurdly high prices - paying £10 a month over a five year contract does get very expensive.

Do not play annoying on hold messages saying how great you are. If a customer is fuming because of a problem, they will blow a fuse if they hear how wonderful you are - repeatedly. Do not use copyright material unless you pay for it. The performing rights people seek out such infringements and charge highly when they find them. They do have an uncanny knack of finding them.

SO WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO?

Most people like to keep it simple. They have all phones ring at once. Then if busy they direct the call to an answer voice mail box. Out of hours and at other times when they can't answer they play a message asking the caller to leave a message.
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