When the phone lines start lighting up, you can’t lose your cool. If there is more than one caller on the line, not only do you have to prioritize calls, you have to check with individual callers to see if they are okay with being put on hold.
Here’s what you should do when the phone lines are going crazy (so you and your customers don’t go crazy too):
- Get The Caller’s Permission First. Never put a customer on hold unless she agrees to it. Asks the caller if it is alright with her — never just assume it’s okay. Example: “X Corporation, Alice speaking … would you mind holding for a minute, please?”
- Deal With The Squeaky Wheel. If a customer does not want to be put on hold, go ahead and help her with what she needs. If she is upset about something, you need to address her concerns right away.
- Check Back With Holders Often. Check on each customer every one or two minutes. This practice shows that you are concerned about her and helps you gauge if the person is getting upset at the wait. Tip: Try to read the tone of the customer on hold. If she sounds aggravated when you check back on her, deal with her immediately, even if she says she does not mind waiting. Some people may be annoyed at the wait, but too polite or timid to mention it when you ask about it.
- Two At A Time May Be Enough. While you should strive to help as many customers as possible, don’t overextend yourself. If you have more than two people on hold at a time, you might get the customers, and their needs, confused.
- Respond To Voice Mails Promptly. After the phone activity subsides, retrieve (and respond to) all the messages that went to voicemail. If you don’t bother to respond, your organization’s reputation will suffer in the eyes of the caller.