A Great Call Experience Begins with a Commitment

Advice For Caregivers

representative answering a phone call

A great call experience can shape our impressions of others or companies we choose to do business with.

Have you ever picked up the phone to call a business and ended up hanging up feeling frustrated, confused, or even angry? You already know how much a bad call can negatively impact your thoughts of the company. However, just as much as a bad call experience can shape our impressions, a great call experience can lead to better reviews too.

No matter if you run a small business, work for a large corporation, are a professional caregiver, or just want to sound professional and pleasant on the phone, learning how to turn a phone call into a great call is crucial. Here are a few tips for improving your phone call game.

 

The Anatomy of a Great Call

In today’s society when so much is done via texting, chatting, and emailing, a phone call is still one of the better ways of getting personalized attention. A great call experience can leave the caller feeling relieved, cared for, and heard. In contrast, a bad experience can leave them feeling like their experience doesn’t matter.

A great call begins with how the caller is greeted when the phone is answered and continues when the caller feels they are being heard and attended to. A great call concludes with follow-up action steps outlined clearly and a pleasant sign-off. Ready to make it happen?

 

Great Ways to Answer the Phone

A great call experience begins when the caller picks up their phone to begin. This means that too much ringing can set a poor first impression even before the caller hears the voice of anyone on the other line. Ensure you have a way to streamline calls so that callers aren’t waiting for someone to answer.

Once someone answers the phone, the experience really takes off. Here are a few tips for answering the phone effectively and setting the right tone.

  • Smile before you pick up the phone. It sounds silly, but it really works! The caller can “hear” your smile when you answer and it is nearly impossible to sound grouchy when you have a smile on your face. It’s okay if you need to fake your smile too; the caller won’t be able to tell the difference.
  • Speak clearly. There’s nothing worse than trying to decipher what the person you are calling is trying to say. Speak with a clear tone.
  • Identify yourself and your company. It is helpful for the caller if your greeting includes your company and your name. Adding in, “how can I help you?” at the end of your greeting can also get the call started on the right foot.
  • Avoid rushing through your greeting. This is especially common if you answer the phone often, but you must remember that the person calling you hasn’t heard you recite your greeting multiples times throughout the day. They are hearing it for the first time and if you rush through it, the caller can feel rushed themselves.
  • Finally, perhaps the biggest tip for successfully answering the phone is to prepare to listen. After your greeting, it’s time for the customer to speak. Ensure you are listening and creating time for them to say what they need to without feeling like you are rushing them through.

How Implementing Best Practices Guarantees a Great Call

senior calling someone on the phone

A caller needs to know that you are attentively listening and actively trying to solve their problem or concern.

Now that you have used best practices for answering the phone and beginning a positive call experience, it’s time to keep that momentum going. If you are a professional caregiver, here are some tips that will ensure your customers have a great call experience, even if their issue is not immediately resolved.

  • Listen to your customer. We pick up here where we left off, with good listening skills. When you are answering the phone, your caller cannot tell if you are nodding or giving other body language cues that you are listening. Instead, they will rely on you telling them that you are listening through verbal communication.
  • Use phrases to let your caller know you are listening. Steer clear from short phrases that can make you seem bored, like “mmmhmmm” or “okay”. Instead, use more active language such as, “I hear that you…” or “I can tell that you…”
  • Be prepared to find a resolution for the reason why they are calling. For some calls, a simple transfer to their desired party will be a successful resolution. However, other callers might be looking for the answer to a question that you might not know. Instead of saying phrases like “I don’t know” or “that’s not something they tell me here”, use confidence-building language like “I will find out that answer for you.”
  • Pay attention to the details. Many times, customers are not sure what information you need in order to solve their issue, so they just tell you a little bit of everything. Keep your ear listening for those small details and then ask them to tell you more about it.
  • Be friendly and interesting. Callers are less likely to have a good experience if you are grouchy, dismissive, or boring. You can turn a poor experience around by simply being friendly and interesting during the course of the call.
  • Give follow up steps before leaving the phone call. Finally, a great call ends effectively with you telling the caller your next steps. It might be simple like, “I’m going to transfer you to Susan now, and she’ll be able to tell you more about your account.” Or, it might be more detailed like, “I’m going to leave a message for Susan so she sees it when she is back from vacation tomorrow. I’ll get the answer to your questions and call you back.”

What Happens When You Don’t Implement Great Call Systems

Great call systems and practices ensure your callers get a similar positive experience no matter who they talk to or when. Unfortunately, without training your team on those systems and practices, you can never be sure your callers are getting a good call experience.

Proper training upon hire, as well as ongoing training throughout their tenure, ensures your team members know the expectations when it comes to answering phone calls. You can also easily “mystery call” your employees a few times per month just to be sure they are pleasant, helpful, and listening to customers.

 

How a Bad Call Can Wreck a Business

Since so much business can be done over email, online chat, or even text, by the time a customer reaches out via phone call, they may already be frustrated with lack of support. If the phone call is not productive, customers tend to have very little patience to wait for an answer or apology.

While one bad call cannot bring down a business, a series of bad call experiences can. Many callers who are not satisfied with their experience end up leaving poor reviews, both online and off. This can lead to decreased trust in your business and fewer word-of-mouth referrals. Unfortunately, a series of bad reviews can quickly lead to a downturn in business and it can be difficult to turn the tide without some serious work to rebuild trust among your audience.

 

Summary

A great call experience can boost business, positive reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and customer confidence. Ensure you are training your team to answer the phone effectively, listen carefully, and take the steps needed to solve problems creatively.