Customer Service 101: How to Handle the Phone Ringing Off the Hook


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a telephone

The phone is ringing constantly, there’s a line of calls waiting, and customers are losing their patience. The positive side is that steady calls mean your business is booming. On the other hand, you have so many calls coming in that you may end up losing customers because they either can’t get through or hang up before you get to them. So how do you handle this situation in a way that keeps the most customers happy? With transparency.

Being honest and open with customers is a great way to earn trust and slow the roll of impatience. Instead of putting customers on hold, answer the calls with a simple, “Thank you for calling, I’m sorry for the wait, we’re experiencing a lot of calls right now. If you can, please wait on the line and I will get back to you as soon as possible, or you can leave your name and number and I’ll call you at a later time.”

By doing this, you offer yourself and the customer two ways of reaching each other. If the customer is happy to wait, then you can return to their call after finishing up with whomever called before them. If they would rather you call them when you are less busy, then you’ve freed the line for yourself and have given them peace of mind knowing that you will be reaching out to them later in the day. If the customer has an emergency, have them come into the store or send a representative to them if possible.

What you don’t want to do is put a customer on hold before answering the call and explaining the situation. Taking the time to answer the call – even if it’s just to relay that the customer may need to wait longer, is the key to good customer service.

Another way to handle a busy phone day is to have at least one other worker with you. They can help to answer calls and also assist customers at the counter.

The constant ringing of a phone can easily overwhelm your day. By answering calls with honesty, you could save yourself and your customers a headache.

Natalie D'Apolito
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Posted In: Management

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