7 guidelines on how to profitably handle incoming calls

The key role of management and staff of any organisation is to build profitable and lasting link or bridge or relationship with the current and potential customers and the public in order to enhance the revenue earning capacity of an organisation.  People call your organisation for various purposes including inquiring about   employment opportunities, making inquiries about the products and services offered by the organisation and sometimes complaining about the services of organisation among other things.   People calling your organisation create an opportunity for you to build relationship with them when you answer them with a helping attitude.    Quite often the opportunity of building profitable relationships with the callers is lost when the calls are received with a negative and uninterested attitude. The calls should be answered in way which makes the callers feel that the organisation is interested in them. The aim is to attract as many profitable potential clients to the organisation and well wishers to the organisation.  Your organisation can always build profitable relationship with telephone callers if the following guidelines of how to handle incoming calls are adopted;

Immediately answer incoming calls

All incoming calls should be immediately answered after the first ring.  Do not keep callers waiting for a long time as they become frustrated and end up disconnecting their calls.  Give an apology to the caller if you are not in position to attend to him or her after let us three rings. A polite automated message requesting the caller to wait for someone to attend to them could be used. The apology message should be followed with neutral good background inspiring music or message.  I have found   unacceptable and irritating when a caller is   forced to listen to dry organisation advertisement in the process of waiting. Company advertisement can be used only when they are properly designed with value add content to the caller.

State clearly the name of the organisation

State clearly the name of your organisation when answering incoming calls to reassure the callers that they have called the right organisation. In addition you should let the caller know that you are at  his or her service.

Confirm name of caller

After the caller has informed you of the reasons for calling request to know his or her name before giving an answer to the caller or routing the caller to the right person to attend to him or her.  In the process of routing the call you should clearly inform the person you are routing the call to the name of the caller and reason for calling.  It is quite annoying to the caller to be asked his or her name so many times by different people within the same organisation. The caller  gets an impression that everyone within an organisation is at his or her service when he or she is addressed by name. Always remember to give an apology if for various reasons the call cannot be immediately  routed. Whenever the caller is waiting for service an inspiring music or message may be played.

Promise to call back

Remember to give an apology to the caller whenever the right person to attend to the caller is not readily available.  You should assure the caller that you will call him or her as soon as the right person is back in the office. Alternatively you could kindly request the caller to call back at the time when you expect the right person to attend to the caller to be readily available. Let the caller know your name to make easy for the caller when he or she is calling back as he or she can use the name as a reference.  The callers should be attended to with a personal touch to feel that they are wanted.

On calling back

Thank the caller for calling back as requested and immediately pass the caller to the right person with the message that the caller had earlier called in for assistance but the right person was not available. The proper routing of the call will enable the person receiving the call to give proper apology for making the caller to wait for so long being attended to.

Be of help to the caller

In case you are not able to offer any solution to the caller, it creates an opportunity for you to walk an extra mile by informing the caller where he or she may obtain a solution he or she is looking for.  People tend to recall people and organisations that have been helpful to them before in life. They feel a need to return a favour to them when an opportunity arises.  This opportunity could arise when they are looking for suppliers!

Thank the caller

At the conclusion of the call thank the caller for calling your organisation and wish him or her a wonderful and profitable day. Remember you are not the only one offering the type of solutions the caller is looking for. Your competitors may be providing the same solution and sometimes better than what you are offering. Remember in life people tend to do business with the people they know and trust. The proper handling of the telephone system gives your organisation an opportunity to create visibility on market and trust with the callers.


John Muhaise Bikalemesa

Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited