In a world where instant gratification is the order of the day and instant results are expected no matter what the circumstances, the ability of commercial enterprises to handle inbound calls efficiently is even more important than ever before. In short, unless you want to be left in the wake of more clued-in competitors, your company needs to ensure that every single call it receives is handled both quickly and effectively. There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this goal, the most expedient of which are listed below.
Turbocharging Telephone Answering Performance
There are, as already mentioned above, a number of ways in which you can improve the performance of your call handling team, some of which will produce results more quickly than others. In this article, we are going to focus on those ways that from personal experience, we know to be the fastest and most effective.
- Monitor Performance – Before you can address any shortcomings in the telephone answering department, you will obviously need to spend some time developing useful performance metrics, with which to measure the performance of individual call handlers. Without accurate data reflecting what is actually happening now, it will be impossible to make any improvements, or indeed, to know if there are any to be made.
- Make Each Team Member Accountable – When reviewing the performance of your call handling team, drill down into the data to produce reports on individual team members. That way you can make every employee responsible and accountable for their own performance rather than addressing the issue from a departmental point of view. Whether you run monthly competitions or offer cash bonuses to motivate individual call handlers is up to you; what is most important is that you make each person aware of their duty to excel at all times.
- Targeted Training – Bonuses or prizes can be offered to high performing call handlers but what can you do about those who are not living up to their full potential? One method that we have found to be very effective is to provide targeted training, designed to help each employee overcome any weaknesses that are uncovered by the performance metrics you have in place. Training that is targeted only at those individuals who really need it and that is customised to address their personal needs is usually far more effective than courses for entire departments that can only cover very basic goals common to the whole team.
- Address Mistakes Quickly – If you listen in on calls as part of your performance evaluations, make sure that any mistakes made are addressed at the earliest possible opportunity. People are far more receptive to advice when it pertains to an incident that is still fresh in their mind and having identified a call handler with a particular problem, it would not be wise to allow them to continue in their position until you have corrected the problem that was identified.
- Lead by Example – If you are the team leader, responsible for the performance of the call handling department as a whole, make sure that you act in the same way you wish your team to act, by owning your mistakes and correcting them as soon as possible. When team members see that their leader is not above admitting they have done something wrong and, of equal importance, seeks to correct their errors as soon as possible, they will be more likely to do so themselves. A team comprised of individuals who are willing to admit to their mistakes and address them immediately is far more likely to reach performance goals than one which is comprised of timid individuals who try to bury their mistakes before they are discovered.
- Set Realistic Goals – Having analysed the performance of your team as a whole, and from the perspective of individual members of that team, you should set goals that every member has a real chance of achieving. Setting goals that are unachievable is likely to result in more problems with employee motivation rather than solutions. When setting targets, base them on the performance of your most consistent and reliable call handlers rather than those who only excel from time to time.
- Provide a Clear Career Path – One of the biggest problems faced by those in charge of call handling teams is the fact that many employees feel more like a number than a valued member of the workforce. You can address this problem by showing each employee the career path they can expect to follow should they live up to expectations; when people can see tangible, long-term benefits to improving their performance at work, they are far more likely to do so.
- Adopt a Flexible Approach – Nine times out of ten, the first performance metrics you employ and the training programmes you initially devise will not be the most effective ones available. To make sure that you are able to improve on them in the future, you need to adopt a flexible attitude and be prepared to concede when your plans are not working out. You may also need to adapt performance measuring and training functionality to meet the changing needs of your company and this is something that will only be possible with a flexible mind set.
In summary, the most effective way to improve the performance of your call handling team as a whole is to tackle the issue from the perspective of individual employees. Team spirit is of course an important factor but it is possible to maintain a cooperative environment at the same time as encouraging individual employees to compete with each other in performance terms.
If your company is looking for a fast and effective solution to its telephone answering needs, working with the team here at Netcall could be your best choice. With years of experience in the industry and a record of achievement that is second to none, our telephone answering services are guarantee to turbocharge your call handling performance.