Celebrating the skills of the telephonist

National Telephony DayDid you know that today marks the 139th anniversary of the first-ever telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant Thomas Watson? Technology may have changed dramatically throughout the last century, but the telephone is still a key communication tool for customers looking to speak to a real person within an organisation.

Making a good impression, delivering exceptional service and maintaining energy and patience, call after call, takes a real passion for customer service – something our 115 telephonists have in abundance.

There’s more to being an exceptional telephonist than just answering the phone and it’s a great career choice for those with the right skills, as one of our call centre managers, Becky Sarney, will testify.

“Our very first interaction with a company tends to be over the phone, so making a good impression is crucial to customer retention. This responsibility falls to the telephonist at the reception desk or in the call centre, so ensuring that they’re trained and ready to handle any calls that come their way is vital.

Here are some of the many things our teams have to think about while handling hundreds of calls a day:

  • First point of contact. No matter what the nature of the call, the caller is relying on our team to get them to ‘where’ they need to be and that’s a big responsibility;
  • Every call is different. Each caller has their own needs and expectations and must be treated with the care and attention they deserve. If a telephonist can do this while adhering to company rules and regulations, they leave a positive lasting impression;
  • Don’t take things personally. Some callers may be confused, fed-up or angry, so we can’t take it personally if they vent their frustration during the call and we must maintain our levels of patience;
  • Answer with a smile. It may be a bit cliché, but it gives a positive impression to the caller and really can help calm them if they’re contacting the company with an issue or a complaint;
  • Update data. New information comes to light every day, whether it’s an associate being out of the office or on a new number, or a change in address or location – we need to ensure all information is updated to make the next call even more seamless;
  • Multi-task. We can be working with multiple databases and various lists; therefore, we need to ensure we have all of the relevant information to hand – whether that’s a bomb threat procedure or list of duty brokers for that day;
  • Recognise vocal impact. We need to have a consistent and engaging tone when dealing with every caller, maintaining our energy levels and putting across our own personality, while always remaining professional.

Let’s celebrate the work our telephonists do on a daily basis – it can be a very rewarding profession”

Becky Sarney is Call Centre Manager for Mitie’s Client Services business

For more information on our telephony services or training courses we provide for switchboard and helpdesk teams, please contact: Keith Seymour

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