Call Rotations: Are You Chancing It with Potential Customers?

When potential clients call, you want to be sure they’re able to quickly reach the right person on your staff, so they not only learn how great your company is, but see how dedicated you are to customer service. But what’s the best way to ensure quick contact with a member of your team? If you have a large staff, you may be tempted to use a call rotation — meaning that when a potential client calls, your receptionist tries to reach one person, then moves on to another if the first is unavailable, then tries another if the second is busy, and so forth. It works great when Team Member Number One is available, but what about when One and Two are busy? Your caller will hear a lot of hold music before chatting with Three. Worse, what if One and Two and Three and Four are all busy, and after a long wait, your potential client is offered the option of voicemail. Not exactly a great first impression, right?

If you’re considering call rotations for your business, put yourself in the shoes of a first-time caller. How often is that caller connected with a team member quickly? How much time does that caller spend on hold? What percentage of callers are ultimately connected with a member of your team?

If your stats are looking bleak, it may be time for a change. Here are a few options for improving your customer experience:

  • Limit that list. Waiting on hold for a minute or two is no biggie, but being placed on hold repeatedly can make a first-time caller feel slighted. If using a call rotation, ask your receptionist to take a message after trying two team members. A savvy receptionist can make a great impression when taking a message, but if that message comes after ten minutes of hold music, even the calmest caller is likely to be perturbed.
  • Keep your receptionist in the loop. Have a team member or two on point for calls, and keep your receptionist apprised of who to call and when. If One and Three are in a meeting, for example, your receptionist can call Two and Four, cutting the potential hold time in half. By keeping your receptionist apprised of everyone’s schedule, you greatly improve your caller’s experience. Knowledge is power — make sure your receptionist is in-the-know!
  • Make the most of every message. Rather than attempting to reach each in a long list of teammates, your receptionist can send an email or text message to that entire group, and politely assure first-time callers that they’ll get a return call in just minutes. Even better, your receptionist can ask a few intake questions, so that when you return a call, you’re already prepared to address a potential client’s specific needs. With the right phrasing, your cheerful receptionist — or virtual receptionist — will make every caller feel appreciated, even if they aren’t immediately connected with an expert: “Wonderful! Thank you so much for your call! A member of our sales team will be happy to return your call in just a few minutes. May I ask which product you’re calling about?”

Do you use call rotations at your business? Why or why not?

Photo by Flickr user conerwithonen