How to Handle Any Call

It’s easy to assume that answering the phone is a simple task but picking up the phone is a big part of your business so it's important to get it right.

How to Handle Any Call

It's easy to assume that answering the phone is simple. The receiver is lifted, vocal cords engaged, and communication ensues. However, handling telephone calls is, in fact, one of the most impressive feats in human psychology. The moment the voice on the end of the receiver begins to speak, we are unconsciously assessing the caller's mood, whether we can assist with their problem, and how we should respond.

Even if you aren't on the phone as much as a call answering company, picking up the phone is a big part of your business, and it can be mortifying to find yourself lost for words. And let's face it, we've all been there.

To reduce those moments when you don't know what to say, we've compiled some nifty tricks to help you answer even the trickiest calls.

What do you do when you don't know the answer to a customer's question?

The truth is that sometimes you will be asked a question that you don't know the answer to. This is particularly problematic if the person on the other end of the phone is becoming angry or impatient because, all too quickly, you can find yourself becoming flustered. The most important thing in this situation is to keep calm and not be afraid to pause for thought.

Suppose you don't know the answer but know someone who would; putting people on hold briefly can allow you to transfer them or get a message from the person you need. Equally, if you have no idea how to help a customer and also no idea as to who might be able to help them, then you also need to give yourself the time to find out. If you don't keep people on hold forever, then giving yourself a moment to consider what to do is not only OK, it's necessary.

Giving yourself pause to think is no bad thing, whether on the phone, in a meeting, or even in your own household. A few moments of silence shouldn't be scary for anyone, honest.

How do you handle a pushy client who insists on speaking to a specific manager who isn't available?

It's a classic tale; someone calls and demands to speak to a manager who isn't there or pushes for information you don't know or can't give out, and once again, you have to be the gatekeeper.

It's easy to lose your head when you have a caller determined to get their way, but there are some great tricks to manage the situation without seeming flustered:

  • Be assertive. Apologise for not meeting the caller's expectations, but do not sound too apologetic. If you do, the caller may blame you for something outside of your control, which isn't constructive for anyone.
  • Don't get involved in any lines of conversation that focus on what you can't do, as it serves no purpose. If you can't give out certain information, for example, quickly move the conversation to a point where you can do something positive for the customer.
  • If the query concerns a colleague with a schedule you aren't aware of, the best thing again is not to focus on what you don't know and instead reassure them that you will make sure a message is passed on and the call is returned. People are much less upset by inconvenience if you make it plain that you are trying your best to work around the problem for them.

Key Points

  • Keeping calm is essential.
  • Silence isn't something to fear. It's much better to pause and think than spew random words out of nervousness.
  • Don't linger on what you can't do; always push the conversation to end on a positive note.
  • Be assertive and professional at all times.

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