These are some essentials to keep in mind during every customer phone contact:
- Have an attitude: Be pleasant and professional. Cheery is not necessarily the appropriate demeanor to present to an agitated parent or student.
- Greet the caller: "This is the Office of Residential Life, Mary speaking."
- Identify the caller: "With whom am I speaking?" or "Who may I say is calling?"
- Identify the issue: "How can I help you?" Responding to the first question the caller asks, "How can I get a single room?" may not necessarily be the best solution for their issue. It could be that the student is seeking to resolve a roommate conflict, or has a special accommodation need.
- Decide on the expert: When you can resolve the issue, do so. If you can't, decide who can.
- Call for assistance: When you can't resolve the issue yourself, only then should you transfer a call. Be sure the staff member is available as voice mail is not the next thing an agitated caller should hear. If the staff member is unavailable, take a phone message for that staff member detailing the issue and the number where the caller can be reached. Relate that someone will call back as soon as they are available.
- Call for help: Sometimes a caller is unusually combative or abusive. If they are unresponsive to your request to moderate the tone or the language, it is time to either call for help from another staff member or to hang up.
- Is there anything else? This simple question or something similar should be offered to every call before you end a phone conversation.