When a customer calls the help desk, 99.9% of the time, he or she isn’t looking for an afternoon chat; they need help with something that the help desk is paid to fix. In order to give that help efficiently, the help desk agent needs to be proficient on call handling.
Call handling is the process, from start to finish, of greeting the customer, troubleshooting, diagnosing the issue, providing an effective resolution and saying goodbye to the customer. There are different ways to go about each separate task, but these steps should be followed as a basic guideline of how to handle a call.
The 7 steps of effective call handling:
1. The Greeting
The greeting is extremely important as its sets the tone of the call. An agent that answers the phone with a negative attitude is going to get negative attitude in return and the situation will only get worse. The greeting should be standard; you don’t want one agent answering with “Wad’up dude” and another answering with “Good’ay mate.”
This can be a basic template for a greeting:
“Welcome to ………………….. Help desk, my name is ………………….., can I take your name please?”
Confirm customer identity and then:
“And how can I help you today?”
By using a standardized approach, you are showing the customer that you are a professional organization and they will trust that you can fix their problems.
As we said before, most of the time, although it does happen, the customer is not calling for an afternoon chat. They have an issue and they want your help to fix it. Sometimes, we have to understand, that the issue in question is affecting their ability to do their own work. Sometimes this can cost them money through lost business and they might not be too pleased about it. We have to remember not to rise to their frustrations; let them tell you their problems and reassure them that you will do your best to fix the situation
In order to fix the issue, we need to work out what the issue is. The agent should be trained on effective troubleshooting and working out what the issue involves. If this is an issue affecting multiple people, the agent should be in contact with the emergency team and they can instruct the agent on how to proceed. If it is a localized issue, the agent should use the knowledge base if necessary and work out what the problem could be.
4. Diagnose the issue
Slightly different from troubleshooting, diagnosing the scope of the issue is putting a label on the issue. Once you have completed troubleshooting, you should be closer to working out what the issue is. If you still are unsure, don’t be afraid to use the support that is available to you. Senior agents, Second Level support and team leaders will all be experienced in diagnosing issues. Once the issue is diagnosed and written into a ticket, you can begin to implement a resolution.
5. Provide a resolution
If you have correctly diagnosed the problem facing the customer, you should then inform them of what the issue is and how you intend to fix it. Don’t let the customer dictate the call and certainly don’t let them tell you what to do. Ensure that you follow the standard procedure, whilst explaining to the customer exactly what you are doing. If you need to talk to a colleague regarding a possible solution, ask the customer if it is ok to put them on hold and don’t put them on hold for too long; nobody likes listening to hold music all afternoon.
6. Implement the resolution or assign
We can’t fix everything at the first level. Some issues need systems and accesses that just aren’t available to first level support. An agent should be aware of how to assign tickets to other teams, or know when to call vendors if this is the agreed solution. The agent should follow the Knowledge Base Articles to ensure that he or she is doing the right thing. If you can fix the problem then go for it; if you can’t fix it immediately, assure the customer that you know where the ticket needs to go and tell them that it will be dealt with appropriately.
7. The Goodbye
It may sound simple, but the farewell is extremely important to the customer. If the issue was resolved quickly and efficiently, the agent should fill in the ticket, complete the call and ask if there is anything else they can help with. If however, the issue could not be resolved at the first level, the agent should reassure the customer that the issue will be taken care of swiftly. If a time cannot be given, the agent should not lie to the customer as it will cause mistrust and negative feedback if the time given was not met.