In a call centre, time is money, so professional call centres use a variety of methods to make every minute count. Some of these time-saving techniques can be applied equally well to making your small business more efficient and thus more profitable.
A call centre often uses an Auto Attendant, which is added to their VoIP phone system to route calls to suitable operatives. An Auto Attendant’s IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menu would also be useful in a small business, where you can’t afford to have the office manned while you’re out on calls.
The Auto Attendant’s recorded message gives callers a choice of voice-activated menu options, allowing them to be transferred to another phone, leave a message, or be connected to you wherever you are.
Click to call
This option lets call centre operatives dial each number on their list by simply clicking on it on the screen. This saves several precious seconds for each call which, when multiplied by hundreds of calls a day, adds up to quite a saving in time.
If you make a lot of calls in your small business and you have a VoIP phone system, you could save a lot of time and misdialled numbers by converting every number on your call list into a Click to Call link.
This is another time saver used by call centres that could be equally useful to a small business. Voice broadcasting involves recording a message and then programming the software to select the target recipients from a database, dial all numbers simultaneously and play the message to each recipient.
While a call centre’s database may involve thousands of recipients, voice broadcasting would still be very cost-efficient for a few hundred calls, if you were running a sales campaign, wanted to inform your customers of something, or were sending out a general thank you or seasonal wishes. Otherwise, the time spent making so many phone calls would cancel out any benefit to be gained from them.
Contact and call centres receive numerous calls simultaneously, so it is inevitable that callers are put on hold and queued for the first available operative. Even in a small business, if there is only one of you, then you are going to have people queuing at some stage.
- A Queue Manager is a great means of improving inbound call retention. Your on-hold callers are kept informed and updated by professionally recorded messages. Options include:
- Position advisor — this is an updated message that informs the caller of their current position in the queue. If someone knows how long they will have to wait, they will be more likely to stay on-line until you can get to them.
- Pacifier messages — these are periodic messages that thank the caller for their patience, apologise for the delay and reassure them that someone will be with them shortly.
- On-hold promotions — these can be advertisements or even information about your business. People prefer to hear something rather than silence, so these messages are not unappreciated and a certain percentage will be interested in what you have to offer.
- On-hold music — relaxing music has a therapeutic effect and can help to soothe impatience and irritation that can develop from being put on hold.