This unit is about making and receiving telephone calls and transferring calls, when necessary, in a business environment. 1-Understand how to make telephone calls.
1.1Describe the different features of telephone systems and how to use them. Telephone systems have many different features this allows us to handle and manage calls in a professional manner. •Call holding- places a caller on hold so you can perform another task. This could be to locate paperwork, find client/customer details, retrieve information from another member of staff or contact another colleague to divert the call along to. •Call waiting- lets you know when there is a caller waiting on another line and wishes to speak to you. This is shown by a flashing light, beeping tone or both. •Re-directing- are available on telephone systems were you may be required to forward a call to another colleague. Usually the features for re-directing state ‘redirect’ or ‘transfer’. •Answer phone- records messages of callers when no one is available to take the call. •Teleconferencing- enables more than the ‘caller’ and ‘receiver’ to be involved in a single phone call.
There are now often enhanced with the use of a camera and computer. •Text messaging- features enable you to send and receive text style messages, alike a mobile phone. 1.2Give reasons for identifying the purpose of a call before making it. Knowing the purpose of a call before making the call is important as the call will sound professional, be concise and you will obtain all the information you require, it may also be useful to have questions you need answering written down and to have any relevant information to hand. By doing this it means the call obtained all the information needed so there shouldn’t be any need for another call to re-ask questions you should have asked in the original phone call. 1.3Describe different ways of obtaining the names and numbers of people that need to be contacted. •if a company name is known try searching for number on their website, try calling the company directly to see if anyone can help with your search.
•If name is known search online phone book or type straight into a search engine such as Google. •Enquire within the company to see if anyone has dealt with the person before or if they may know of someone who can help. •Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Myspace as most people have an account personally or of their business to advertise them. •NB- whenever contacting people always clearly state who you are and why you are contacting them. 1.4Describe how to use a telephone system to make contact with people inside and outside an organisation. Inside call- if you know the internal extension number for the person you are trying to contact simply pick up the phone and dial number, if not try calling the department where the person is situated and your call will be transferred. On the possibility you have only been given a name to contact try calling a main reception desk or human resources and see if they can help you locate the person.
Outside call- most company phones are set up internally so you have to begin with the phone call with a connection number. Here at UK Waterproofing Solutions Ltd we press ‘9’ before making an outside call as this connects us to an outside line instead of the call being dealt with internally. 1.5Explain the purpose of giving a positive image of self and own organisation with both incoming and outgoing calls. This call may very well be the first contact your company is making with the other company/customer and because it is over the phone there is no face to face meeting and so the person can’t judge you on your image or facial expressions so relaying a positive attitude is essential. It makes the call pleasant and productive, and will leave a good impression of both yourself (as the representative) and of the company you’re calling from. Being rude, abusive, un-helpful or just generally sound un-interested it creates a negative image against yourself and the company.
Whenever you make a call you are your companies representative so it is always important to be as polite and as helpful as possible as this may in turn create more custom for your business. 1.6Explain the purpose of summarising the outcomes of a telephone conversation before ending the call. Summarising is important so both parties involved are sure of the information that has been exchanged, it also ensures all questions are answered fully. For example during a long conversation about several different products your company produces you say “£5 per unit” but the caller thinks you said “5 units per £” so summarising will prevent misunderstanding and incorrect information being relayed in a different company. Also if the conversation was long some finer details may have been missed simply due to the large amount of information discussed.
Some companies have a policy were a courtesy email is sent to the caller in which all the information from the call has been summarised and additional information can be added. 1.7Describe how to identify problems and who to refer them to. When a call comes into the office always take a name (full if possible and preferably) and the company they are calling from, try and obtain from the caller either what the problem is exactly or from which department the problem arisen from and if they know who within the department they spoke to. Pass message along to department or relevant staff and see what information can be found to resolve the problem.
If this is not possible try and locate a member of staff who can help from the information obtained from the caller e.g. company was expecting a cheque in the post over a week ago, locate staff or department that the cheque would have been sent from (most likely accounts department or a project manager/finance manger) if cheque was prepared for posting contact mail room for reference on mail log and when it was sent, if sent possibly cancel cheque as it may have been lost in the post and re-send new cheque.
At all times keeping the other company informed on what happened and give them an estimated time of arrival for new cheque. 1.8Describe organisation structures and communication channels within an organisation. •Pyramid- staff have a role, shared decision making, specialisation is possible (traditional view of organisation).
•Entrepreneurial- decisions made centrally (pressure on decision makers)
•Matrix- staff with specific skills join project teams, individuals have responsibility.
•Independent- seen in professions where organisations provide support systems and little else. (not suited to most businesses due to lack of control)
•Channels of communication- communication in organisations follow paths or channels. Communication between managers and subordinates is known as vertical communication this is because the information flows up or down the hierarchy. Channels between departments or functions involve lateral communication. As well as formal channels of communication, information also passes through an organisation informally. Communication is not complete until feedback has been received.
(VERTICAL, LATERAL COMMUNICATION)
1.9 Describe how to follow organisational procedures when making a telephone call. Always introduce yourself including name and company you are calling from, if prior know request to talk to the member of staff/department you are calling for. If not explain why you are calling and request help on locating staff that can help. When connected have questions ready or know exactly what information is required. At end summarise call and recap information to check accuracy. 1.10Explain how to report telephone system faults.
Being as exact as possible will help the fault be resolved as fast as possible.
•When did the problem start?
•How frequent is it happening?
•What conditions are occurring?
•Can you restart or reset the equipment?
Inform a member of staff of the fault and try contacting service provider for assistance.
2-Understand how to receive and transfer telephone calls.
2.1 Describe how to identify callers and their needs.
Sequence Approach Helpful Phrases
Phase 1- Clarification of callers needs
Identify callers needsStart with open ended question.
Don’t interrupt“How can I help you?”
“What would you like to know from us?”
Clarification of actual situation/facts Ask pertinent questions “In order to answer your question to the point, I need information about” Sum up request/concernCommunicate that users concerns are taken seriously- there is no such thing as a silly question. “Did I understand correctly that you would like to know/that you need …” “It makes sense (is understandable) that you want to know this” “of course it is important for you to understand this”
Phase 2- Meeting callers information needs
Find out what user knows already What information was previously given? Respect for callers attitude without adopting it.“To avoid giving you information you may know already: what information about this have you already got?” I understand how you asses this situation…”
“… Lets’ see what information we have about this”
Transition to providing information Initiate giving the information Assess caller’s intake capacity in this specific situation and how information should be tailored to their needs.“Would you like me to tell you the information we’ve got about this question?”
“Would you like me to give you an overview at first?”
“Would you like me to get some background information at first?” “Should I explain first the back ground story?”
Providing information Align information to callers questions/concerns Provide small manageable information packages.
Encourage caller to ask questions
Check back to make sure caller has understood. Offer additional support services. Explain pauses that are caused by searching for information. Pause to allow for more questions“If you have questions in between/don’t understand something at any time please say…” Clarification Revise incorrect/not applicable cautiously
Clarify own role
Build a bridge to other staff“I noticed that…”
“I would like to point out…”
“It may be helpful to discuss this information with other colleagues”
Phrase 3- Summing up and closure
Conformation Ask if callers needs were met
If needs obviously were not met address this fact “Did I answer your question with the information I gave you?”
“Was this helpful?”
“Is the information you were looking for?”
“Have we discussed everything that you needed to know?”
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to answer your question(s) the way you had expected it. The reason is … (explain)” “But maybe our conversation could show you away…”
Closure of call Offer to call again “If you have more questions at a later time/need more information/clarification, feel free to call again anytime”
2.2 Explain the purpose of giving accurate and up-to-date information to callers. Giving in accurate information to callers means when someone calls a company they have done so with the anticipation of getting their question/query promptly and professionally. Having up to date information available in a clear and concise manner will confirm in the callers mind they made a good buying decision or are about to. For example, if a customer called into the office for a price on a liner and I gave them a price based on last years/incorrect prices when they received/picked up the liner and were asked to pay more that I had previously said they would have a poor impression of the company and may not be able to afford or have budgeted for the new higher price for the liner. 2.3 Explain the purpose of confidentiality and security when dealing with callers.
From a callers point of view they want their personal details kept secure and confidential by showing this when dealing with a caller you are showing them that you can be trusted with their personal information. For your point of view, you need to keep callers personal information private and respect their privacy, or you could be liable for prosecution under the data protection act. 2.4 Describe the types of information that could affect confidentiality and security and how to handle these. If any confidential or information to do with security is given out, then it is causing a threat to others. Types of information that could affect confidentiality and security are peoples personal details, PIN numbers, National Insurance Numbers and account numbers. These can all be kept confidential by not telling anyone them.
The Data Protection Act was setup to prevent confidential and security information from being given out and it is breaking the law if you do. All these sorts of information should be handled by a maximum of 2 people and seen by no one else. This way no information will be revealed. 2.5 Describe the ways of identifying the appropriate person to whom a call is transferred. After answering the call following company procedure, ask the caller if they know the name of the person they wish to speak to, if they don’t ask regarding which department. Again if the caller doesn’t know find out briefly what the call is in reference to (briefly due to the topic the caller may wish to discuss can be of a private matter). Using this information can make it easier to select the right person/department.
•*Ring, Ring… Ring, Ring*
•Me: UK Waterproofing…
•Caller: Hello my names Jane Doe, I spoke to a representative from your company yesterday and would like to speak to him again if possible?
•Me: Of course, who are you looking for?
•Caller: I’m sorry I don’t know his name
•Me: That’s fine, do you know what department he was from? •Caller: Again I’m sorry, I made note of his name but I’ve lost the piece of paper I wrote it on. •Me: Not to worry, can I ask what the call was in reference to as this may help us locate the person you’re after. •Caller: Yes sure, I was looking into making a pond in my garden and the gentleman was providing information on how to measure my pond for a liner, I’m calling back with my measurements hoping to get a price. •Me: Okay, by the sounds of it you’ll be looking for the estimates department, if you don’t mind being put on hold for a few moments I’ll call up and see if we can locate the gentleman you spoke to yesterday. •Caller: That’s fine, thank you.
•*Place caller on hold*
2.6 Describe the information to be given when transferring calls and leaving messages. After answering the phone following company procedure (taking callers name, company they are from, what the call is regarding) To caller: Explain that they will be put on hold while you try and locate (if person unknown) or contact the person they are after or another member of staff who is more appropriate to deal with their request. To new recipient of the call: Who is on the line, where they are from (company), why you are transferring the call to them and what details have already been given to the caller.
This saves time and prevents the caller being given the same information again. On return to the caller: Who they are being transferred to and why they will be more useful and helpful to deal with their request. When leaving a message for someone out of office or via a phone message: Who the caller was, full name, where they are calling from i.e. company. What time they rang, the details of the call and any specific details or requests the caller wanted the intended receiver to know. For example:
•*Ring, ring… ring, ring* (8:45am)
•Me: UK Waterproofing…
•Caller: Hello, I’m looking to speak with Dave Moss please. •Me: Unfortunately Mr Moss is not in the office at the moment, would you like me to pass a message along to him? •Caller: Yes please, my names Jane Doe I’m from Example Building in Nottingham, Mr Moss contacted me earlier this week looking for a price on a two storey extension on the Hampshire site, reference JO213. Can you let him know we need to send a couple of men to the site to do some final measurements but we can’t get access without written consent from Mr Moss to the site manager to allow our men to be at the site for a few hours. It’s a health and safety procedure that we need to complete before our men can go out.
•Me: That’s fine so, Jane Doe of Example Building Notts, called back regarding Hampshire site quote, needs written consent sending to site manager to allow for measurements to be taken. Health and Safety requirement. Can I take a contact number? •Caller: Sure, 07895324870 that’s my work mobile, I’m out of the office from 10:00am till around 3:00pm so could he call either before or after as there are a couple of other things I need to discuss with him. •Me: Okay, out of office from 10:00am-3:00pm… I’ll be sure to pass the message along. •Caller: Thank you.
Call to Mr Moss. Message left on answer machine.
“Good morning Dave, Jane Doe from Example Building in Nottingham rang for you this morning at 8:45am, call was regarding a quote on ref: JO213 Hampshire site, she needs written consent sending to site manager to allow for some men to take measurements, it’s a company health and safety requirement. Can you call her on 07895324870, she is out of office 10:00am till 3:00pm and asked for you to call outside of these times, wishes to discuss more with you as well. Thanks” 2.7 Describe how to identify problems and who to refer them to.
Transferred call- connection with customer may have been lost during transfer, contact previous person who transferred call to you and see if they have a number or company name so you can call caller back. (Calling a customer back shows you are keen to help that person and will try your best to provide good customer service by taking the time and effort to try and re-connect with the caller). Log problem as a technical fault, if disconnecting issue continues check phones for system fault and report to a senior member of staff or technical support staff.
Transferred to wrong person- This may have happened due to a system fault or a technical fault with a phone involved in the transfer, other possibility is the original person to transfer was new and so may have made a mistake. Explain to the person that unfortunately they have been transferred to the wrong person, it may not necessarily be the incorrect department just wrong person. Apologise to customer, explain the problem, if you can help continue to assist the customer if not swiftly transfer call to correct person but keep caller informed at all times as to what is happening. Log fault making note of when it happened and the phones involved, if problem persists inform senior member of staff.