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03 Apr 2020
What's the difference between Call Handling and Telephone Answering?
As a service provider, The Office Genie can offer both telephone (call) answering AND call handling for our clients. So what’s the difference I hear you ask?
What is call handling?
Call handling gives businesses support for their inbound call volume, either on an overflow basis or all calls. Calls will forward to specialist service provider.
The call handling provider will answer calls on behalf of your business and ensure all enquiries are dealt with in the most appropriate way. This could include:
- Transferring the calls to the relevant person or department
- Booking appointments
- Taking payments into an online portal
- Customer service call-outs to book appointments such as an annual service or an ad hoc requirement.
How does it differ to telephone (call) answering?
While both phrases are used, you will normally hear the phrase “telephone answering service” used by companies that offer a basic name, number and message-taking service and just pass the message on via email.
Call handling, on the other hand, is exactly that: the service provider will handle the whole call from the moment the handler answers the phone until the enquiry has been fully managed.
Part of the work a call handler does will happen after the call has finished such as sending an email/letter confirmation of the booking. Call handlers are responsible for dealing any issues that were raised during the call, whether that’s arranging an engineer call-out, working through a list of on-call staff or processing a payment.
Why should businesses choose call handling?
Almost every business could benefit from a basic message-taking service, for when their staff are on another call, popped to the shop for milk or doing some copying for the meeting happening right now. The more detailed nature of handling calls means it is better suited to the needs of businesses who recognise outsourcing to call handling specialists is more cost effective than hiring someone, or SMEs with no support of their own and want to offer a very detailed service or in-depth requirements.
For example, outsourcing your inbound calls can be extremely beneficial in the legal sector. Legal firms will often need a large amount of information to be taken from their calls, as this saves fee earners time when they respond to the enquiries.
A call handling service will create a bespoke setup that allows their teams to manage the conversation, gives full solutions and ensures all the necessary information is captured on the call, with details checked as part of the call.
Another example would be in the travel industry. We are able to run a 24/7 service on behalf of a client with clients all round the worldwide needing support on their holiday such as connecting flights running late, issues at the hotel they have just arrived at, and even arrange extra trips such as dolphin watching.
This allows travel firms to offer a fantastic service and be available to their clients whenever needed in a cost-effective way, which wouldn’t be possible with a basic message-taking service.
Another example would be a blinds company. The client is often a one-man band working from their van so having a call handling company manage all their calls means they don’t have to worry about driving whilst speaking and losing the signal or trying to find a scrap of paper to scribble down the appointment to add in their diary at a later stage. The call handing company will take the call, book an appointment convenient for both parties, whilst minimising travel time between appointments and send out the confirmation of the booking. They can also call out the day before the appointment to confirm its all going ahead.
What is possible with call handling?
While most contracts are relatively bespoke, pulling together different elements to create a package specific to the client, there are certain core elements of call handling that feature time and again.
- Switchboard and reception services – With a switchboard and reception service, your call handler can take all of the calls coming into a business and direct them through to specific members in the team. If the requested person is unavailable they can take a message which is emailed over in real time.
- Overflow– In most scenarios, it’s still cheaper to answer and manage your own calls in-house during the day, but there will still be calls that are missed. Mainly due to your receptionist being on another call or making a coffee for the visitor that has just arrived. By using the call handling company for overflow, means you can be confident that ALL calls will be answered.
- Out-of-hours – In some situations, it’s still cheaper to answer and manage your own calls in-house during the day, but outsourcing is most cost-effective outside of business hours. One of the most fundamental ways to use call handlers is to manage out-of-hours calls when you know you will only receive a few calls over a month, but don’t wish to be disturbed during family time or in the middle of the night. Using a call handler will action the calls as per your brief and contact out-of hours engineers as and when required without disturbing you.
- Customer service lines– Customer service lines fully integrate with a client’s systems so they can provide complete customer service solutions. This can include tasks such as providing advice, taking orders and payments and processing customer complaints.
- Diary management and appointment booking – With a diary management service, the call handling taking the enquiry will log into a diary or calendar so they can book and rearrange appointments on behalf of the caller. This has a wide range of applications, from patients changing their physio appointments to customers looking to book a table at a restaurant.
- 24-7 hour support and emergency response – A call handling service is a cost-effective way to provide 24-hour customer support. This is very attractive for businesses that have a service level agreement with their client that states they must respond to emergencies within a set period of time.
Your calls handled as though we are part of your team
At The Office Genie, we specialise in providing a world class call handling service with our virtual touch of magic. We are dedicated to helping businesses provide exceptional customer journeys for their clients and their customers. We are able to deliver unrivalled service to our clients thanks to the high level of on-going training we provide to our genies.
For more information, contact us today on 01604 532103.
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Stephanie Clifton commented on 12 April 2020
Great Business Support...
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