As a business owner, don't underestimate the importance of handling inbound calls. The customer-centric landscape makes inbound calls even more critical to improving customer service and ensuring that retention and overall business performance don't suffer. While some businesses choose to handle inbound calls independently, a growing number are turning to inbound call centers that can take this stressful and never-ending task off their plate.
In this blog, we will delve into how to handle inbound calls for your business or what to look for if you outsource inbound call handling. In case you need inbound call center outsourcing, our team at Hit Rate Solutions is here to assist you!
Understanding the Significance of Inbound Calling
Phone calls are an essential aspect of how you interact with your customers, meaning it is a vital avenue to building your customer communication channels. Inbound sales calls consist of handling customers who need assistance or have questions about a particular product or service. Calls must be handled professionally and with empathy and knowledge.
As excellent customer service is expected in today's landscape, inbound call center management is more important than ever. Organizations are more willing to invest in call center agents or inbound call management to assist them in achieving better customer service.
How to Build an Inbound Calling Strategy
To expertly handle customer inquiries, you must build an inbound calling strategy that's tailored to your needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Who is your target audience?: Your customer service reps should have an understanding of who your audience is and how you can assist their needs and preferences.
- Do you have clear goals and objectives?: Whether you utilize an in-house team or inbound call center agents, they should know what your efforts are trying to achieve, whether it be increasing sales or boosting customer satisfaction.
- Is there a preferred script?: Scripts and guidelines help establish a consistent customer experience and can help streamline efficiency.
11 Tips to Strengthen Your Inbound Call Strategy
To handle inbound sales calls, you'll want to implement the below 11 tips to help improve your overall strategy and approach. These insights can help to improve customer interactions, improve agent performance, and improve how your business handles inbound calls.
1. Maintain a Positive Aura
All customer calls should be handled with positivity and an upbeat tone of voice. When a customer calls, they want to feel as though they will receive the help that they need instead of a call handler answering in a mundane way. Even if the service team is tired or not in a good mood, they need to manage inbound calls in the most professional and upbeat manner possible. Be as patient as possible when interacting with customers even if they are being unreasonable or impatient.
2. Provide a Personalized Approach
Another key tip in handling inbound calls is to be as personable as possible. Even with a high call volume, each of your customer service reps should aim to make the caller feel unique and special. This can be achieved through a personalized greeting. The customer calling also shouldn't feel as though the phone handler is reading from a script or simply checking off boxes within the conversation's talking points.
3. Sustain Call Control
One important consideration in handling inbound calls successfully is to maintain control throughout each conversation. The agent, whether part of a contact center or an in-house employee, should be able to guide how the conversation unfolds and address the customer's needs and the caller's pace. For example, make sure to actively listen to what the customer wants to learn and ask relevant questions to guide them toward a successful outcome. Having call control is one of the most important call center tools to have as it allows each scenario to be handled with confidence and professionalism.
4. Conquer Challenges with Confidence
Many of your existing customers might have objections when they are calling in. This could be about your company's products or policies that are particularly frustrating to them. If your call handlers can overcome objections and handle sales inquiries, it can help to create more valuable customers. However, this level of technical support doesn't happen overnight. Make sure that you internally discuss various talk tracks that help you navigate common objections in a confident tone that can be useful during challenging scenarios.
5. Focus on Customer Experience
Whether you're focusing on outbound calls or inbound call management, the customer experience during these types of sales calls is key. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and strive to understand the customer's problem before you offer reactive support. Do what you can to make them feel at ease such as using a positive tone and ensuring that you're answering questions as they come up. The most satisfied customers will feel as though you have a vested interest in helping them rather than rushing through the conversation. The more trust you can build during phone calls, the better.
6. Aim for First Call Resolution
First call resolution, or FCR, is the most ideal way that you can handle inbound calls. It means that after the first call, the customer feels as though their questions have been answered and that they've received the desired assistance. Naturally, you'll want to do everything during inbound calls so that you can resolve the issue, but no one is perfect. In some cases, you'll get a particularly challenging inbound call that stumps you. That's okay! Some factors are outside of your control. It's okay to let the customer know that you are unable to assist them but you'd be happy to direct their call to a relevant party for additional assistance.
7. Monitor Your KPIs Metrics
Whether you're using call centers for inbound call management or your team is in-house, it's crucial to track as much data as you can. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the basic marks that most contact centers and support teams follow to ensure that they're providing the best possible experience for each customer. For example, how long is the average customer waiting time and what is the call abandon rate? Another example of a KPI would be the percentage of conversations that adhere to the desired schedules. The better you can track your KPIs and CRM data, the easier it is to get more customers.
8. Talk to the Customers Who Need Attention the Most
There are many types of inbound calls but not all of them require the same amount of attention. While you'll want to treat every customer with respect and patience, some customers will require additional guidance and support compared to others. Consider that every phone call will cost the business money; you'll want to focus on talking to the right types of customers for your business. One strategy that can make a significant difference for sales teams and your overall appointment process is to develop a routing system that pre-screens callers and directs them to the right teams. You can also consider putting your number only on certain website pages.
9. Provide Choices for Self-Assistance
Self-service and establishing an interactive voice response can be other helpful ways to find success. Consider that some customers will be able to resolve their issues or queries on their own instead of relying on a team at a call center. Automated menus or directing callers to online resources help to alleviate some of the high call volumes that your business would otherwise get. For example, call centers aren't needed for basic tasks such as order tracking or checking order details. Instead, these details and accurate information can be found online or via email. This frees up time for agents to focus on outbound calling or other more pressing needs.
10. Only Promise What You Can Offer
Most businesses are tempted to do everything they can to get new customers but make sure you aren't overpromising what your company can offer. As your business grows, you might not be able to provide a solution for every customer on your own; this is why so many companies are leaning on knowledgeable third-party inbound call centers for assistance. When interacting with callers, make sure that you're realistic about what you can offer and that you aren't making promises that you won't be able to keep.
11. Ensure That a Sufficient Number of Agents Are Available
Ensuring that you have enough available agents to handle inbound calls is another key tip to keep in mind. If a customer is left waiting too long, they can feel as though they are neglected and not important to your company. This can cause tension and frustration before the call even begins. Having a sufficient number of agents available at any given moment helps to ensure uninterrupted support and a more seamless experience for your customers.
How Many Calls Should an Inbound Agent Take?
To handle inbound sales calls effectively, agents must take on the ideal call volume. It's not only about efficiency but it's also about quality; are customer inquiries being handled in a professional and quality manner? The nature and complexity of the calls in addition to the overall experience level of the individual will also be factored in when determining the number of calls that call center agents should take.
Some companies use performance metrics such as the average handle time (AHT) or how many calls each agent can handle per hour. Other companies rely more heavily on customer satisfaction scores based on the call handler. Ultimately, how you handle your phone system and your call volume per agent depends on your unique goals. Regardless of your approach, make sure that quality is prioritized.
Do You Need to Use Inbound Call Scripts?
Inbound calls often follow scripts or pre-written guidelines that outline the steps that each agent should follow while on the phone. On the downside, these scripts can sound a bit robotic if they aren't executed properly and they might not cover all customer inquiries. However, call handlers often use scripts to their advantage and provide a strong framework for success and consistency across conversations.
Here are a few best practices that your employees or third-party agents can implement:
- Keep the script focused and concise: Avoid using unnecessary details and communicate straightforwardly. Don't get too caught up in details that don't matter and focus on the root of the issue when taking inbound calls.
- Build in flexibility: Skills such as thinking on your feet and being creative are helpful in call handling best practices. Your scripts should only be a framework and shouldn't dictate exactly what your employees should say.
- Revise often: Inbound phone calls will always be a good way for you to learn about your process and what areas of the script you can improve upon. Look at it as a working document of how to manage incoming calls.
How to Select the Right Inbound Call Center Software
To effectively choose the right software for answering inbound calls, you'll want to focus on key areas such as scalability, integration opportunities, and ease of use for your business. There are many computer telephony integration options on the market, so make sure to do your research before you make your decision. After all, this choice will directly impact how each customer interacts with your brand and can be the difference between a frustrated and a loyal customer.
An all-in-one solution of how to manage inbound calls helps streamline your efforts. Many software options offer intuitive dashboards to track KPIs, automatic call distribution, automatic call recording, interactive voice response, skill-based routing, automatic call distribution, virtual agents, customized calling queues, and so much more. You'll also want to make sure that the software integrates with existing software that you already have established at your company.
Why Is It Better to Outsource Inbound Calling?
Many businesses rely on outsourced inbound call centers as it is a cost-effective solution to improving customer loyalty. It reduces the need for personnel, infrastructure, and technology. It also allows for professionals who are highly skilled in customer communication to represent their company and their brand which can help increase retention and satisfaction. In addition, a call center is a scalable option that can grow alongside your business, and you won't need to worry about the expenses of expanding your in-house employees as your business grows. As callers won't be able to know the difference between a third party and an internal team, why not tap into this avenue and reap the benefits of outsourcing?
Experience Seamless Call Management with Hit Rate Solutions by Your Side
Call management is an essential part of your business as it helps to increase customer satisfaction and improve the overall customer experience. The above tips are helpful guidelines for improving your existing strategy and helping you find success in this realm of your business.
However, not every company has the bandwidth or resources to take this important initiative upon itself; this is where a third-party call center can provide invaluable guidance and assistance. If your company has been looking for an answer to call management, look no further than our team. Efficient yet quality services are exactly what you can expect from us at Hit Rate Solutions. If you're interested in learning more about our services and how we can assist you, please contact us today to learn more.