It can be one of the biggest blunders of the business call, eliciting sighs, eye-rolls, and universal irritation. It’s the call transfer—and it has a bad reputation for a reason.
If you do it right, it can help your customers and leave a lasting, positive impression. But if you do it wrong—and many of us do—you’ll not only annoy your customers, you may make them angry. And you could lose them for good.
If your call transfers could use some work, there are some easy steps to make them a whole lot better.
Whether your business has a single customer service representative or a giant call center, a good call transfer starts with listening. You (hopefully!) listen to your customers any other time. Communicating with them by phone shouldn’t be any different.
They’re calling for a reason. Give them as much time as they need to explain what they need. Once the reason for the call is established, you can determine if a transfer is needed.
Explain why a transfer is necessary.
A bad transfer can be abrupt, disorienting, and confusing, usually because callers have no idea what’s happening and why. Before transferring a call, explain why it’s needed.
Perhaps someone else can better provide the customer with information to solve a problem. Maybe technical support is needed. Whatever the reason, tell your customer. Chances are they’ll understand—and appreciate the explanation.
You’ll quickly discover that when you take a little time to explain why you’re transferring the call, customers will be relieved you’re directing them to someone that can help with their specific issue.
Get permission, then provide your contact information.
Once you’ve explained why a transfer is needed, be sure to get permission to do it.
Another good idea? Provide customers with your contact information before transferring the call.
You’ve spent time with the caller, listening to their issue and determining the next best steps. You have a holistic understanding of their needs. Having a way to get back in touch with you provides customers with a feel-good safety net in case they need your help again.
Make an introduction.
Before the call transfer, brief your colleague on the customer’s situation. (You can do this with or without the caller on the line.) This is an important step that will save them from explaining their needs again. Ask if there’s anything else you can do and thank them for their patience as you and your team work to resolve their issue.
That’s it! You’ve mastered the art of the perfect call transfer.
Now for some logistics.
If you’ve recently launched a small business, you know it requires some major juggling. Maybe you’re the one answering calls right now (and your “team” is just one other person). Or maybe you’re using your personal cell as a business phone until things really get going. Whatever your situation, you need a fast, easy way to transfer calls.
Many small business owners find that VoIP (phone service via the internet) is a hassle-free way to do a whole slew of things that traditional phone systems just can’t offer, including the ability to turn your personal cell phone into your business phone.
When it comes to transferring calls, VoIP allows you to do so without much effort at all. Which is exactly what you need when you’ve got customers with burning questions, a video conference starting in five minutes, and your mom on the line about to give you her famous brisket recipe. (Apparently, the secret’s in the sauce, which sounds perfect for lunch and your business. We’ll take a double helping! #yespleaseandthankyou!)