When handling calls with the outside public, there is a set of guidelines and policies that the telephone operator follows. But when the calls are within the company, or within the same office, these policies and guidelines can shift a bit and become a whole new set of guidelines all their own.
Transferring a call to another telephone number may seem like an easy task, but it still requires a bit of skill in any office environment. Many times, when a caller is transferred, they feel as though they are being ignored and simply ‘dumped’ onto someone else. So if you have a caller on the line that needs to be transferred to somewhere in the department or the company, first notify the caller as to why you are transferring them. Once they understand why, let them know where you are transferring them to and the name of the person to speak with, if known. This lets the caller know that you are trying to help them by getting them to the correct place.
When possible, ‘warm transfer’ the caller to the extension. Warm transferring allows the telephone operator to call the department they are trying to reach, speak with an agent and give them information about the call. Once the agent is ready, the operator transfers the call directly to them.
Tips for transferring calls:
Just the same as transferring a call, placing a caller on hold can make them feel ignored and that the telephone operator does not want to help them. In order to assure the caller that we are there to help them, we must take precautions when placing them on hold. When handling calls from within or outside the office, always ask the caller if they are able to hold and wait for their answer before doing so. Let them know why you may need to put them on hold, such as if you need to search for more information or find the person they are trying to reach. When you return, be sure to thank them for their patience while holding and let them know what you have found for them. If, for some reason, the caller cannot or will not hold, offer to take their contact information and give them a call back when you have the information/party they are searching for.
Tips for placing callers on hold:
Although many departments do not require employees to take message for each other, the occasion can arise where an employee receives a call from someone looking for another person and wants to leave their callback information. When taking messages for someone in the office, it is similar to the process of taking a message from an outside caller. First, make a note of what day and time the call came to you. Then obtain the caller’s information, such as name and their title, if they have one, and ask them for the best callback they want to leave with you. Finally, note what the caller wants from the other party, such as requesting a callback, simply leaving information for the other party, or if the message is urgent and they need to speak with them right away. Ensure you have all the information you need before disconnecting with the caller.
Tips for taking messages:
Sometimes ending a call with someone can be an awkward feeling and can leave both parties unsure if the call is over. The key is to remain professional while letting the caller know that the conversation is over, which means you are about to hang up. Begin by reviewing the information from the call, such as if you took a message for them or will need to connect them to another party. Once the caller has understood that you have everything you will need, offer a salutation or parting phrase, such “Thank you for calling today” or “It was a pleasure speaking with you”. This alerts the caller that you are wrapping up and they may offer a farewell first. Always end with a professional “Good bye” or “Have a good day/evening/night”. Avoid using slang terms such as “bye-bye” or “Alright” when dismissing callers since these can cheapen your sentiments and sound unprofessional.
Samples phrases for ending a conversation:
Darren was working the front desk of the office and received numerous inbound calls every hour. His next all was from a coworker in the department downstairs. Janet asked Darren if she could speak to Paul, one of the workers in his department. Darren asked Janet if he could place her on hold while he checked to see if Paul was in. When Darren came back on the line, he thanked Janet for holding and told her that Paul was not at his desk right now.
“Oh, alright. Would you mind taking a message for me?” Janet asked.
“Sure, I can do that.” Darren replied.
Darren noted the time Janet was calling and what she was calling for. He verified her callback number and what time was best to reach her back.
“I have everything I need, Janet. I’ll get this information to Paul today.” Darren said.
Janet thanked him for his time and hung up the phone.