Message taking services – Why message taking for business can be trickier than you think.
Message taking – it sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get wrong.
You might think your message taking skills are fine, after all you’ve probably taken loads of messages throughout your life.
But is your message taking service up to par when it comes to business?
Business message taking is an important skill to have. After all, when you’ve got the client of a life time on the phone you can hard hardly leave them waiting while you look for a pen.
Here are the 10 steps you need to follow for good business message taking.
1. Be there to answer the phone
The first step – and it might seem like an obvious one – is you need the be there to answer the phone. Around 80% of people don’t leave voicemails so it’s no use thinking your answering machine will do the job for you. If you want to get that message from an important client, you need to have a real person answer the phone whatever time the call comes in.
2. Use the right greeting
Getting your greeting right can say so much about your business. It’s basically the first impression the caller will get – and we all know how important first impressions are.
Make sure the greeting is polite, friendly, and clearly states the name of your business.
There’s nothing worse than phoning up a company and not being sure if you’re got through to the right person on the right place.
Your greeting is your opportunity to put the caller at ease and let them know that they’ve phoned the right people.
3. Take down the caller’s name and number
While you might think it’s normal procedure to take someone’s name and number at the end of the message there are a few reasons to make sure you do this first.
One is that it means straight away you know the caller’s name. Being able to use someone’s name allows you to provide a much more personal experience. The caller will appreciate this.
The second reason is that if you get cut off it’s easy to get back in touch with the caller. Similarly, some people may put the phone down as soon as their enquiry has been dealt with. If you get their name and number first, you’ve still got that data for your records even if they leave the conversation early.
4. Listen to their enquiry
Once you’ve got their basic information you can move on to their actual enquiry.
It’s important to listen carefully at this point, as a potential client or caller won’t appreciate having to repeat themselves over and over again.
It’s always better to let the caller finish speaking rather than interject – even if you feel like you know where the question is going – as this makes it clear that you’re listening to them. In the case of a complaint it lets the caller feel like they’ve fully aired their grievance and it’s been taken seriously.
5. Triage the call
Triaging the call means interpreting the caller’s enquiry and understanding the level of urgency that needs to be attributed to it.
This is an important skill because often people will think their enquiry should be treated urgently, when the reality is it’s not business critical.
Understanding how to properly triage a call is vital in knowing what to do with a message.
After all, if you run into the middle of a board meeting waving a piece of paper around you need to be 100% sure it’s business critical.
6. To transfer or to take a message?
Once the call is triaged you’ll know if you can simply take a message to deal with later or if you need to try and get hold of someone straight away to deal with the issue.
If it is the case that you need to transfer the call or find someone in the office to deal with the problem, make it completely clear to the caller what is happening.
If for example the caller was making a complaint, it’s only going to anger them further if they get put on hold and they’ve no idea why.
If the enquiry isn’t that urgent and you will simply take a message for later, it’s always best to let the caller know when someone will be back in touch with them.
This makes it clear that their enquiry will be dealt with and not just forgotten about.
7. Make detailed notes
When it comes to message taking, you can never go into too much detail. That’s because it’s so easy to forget exactly what was said in a conversation.
While it might be tempting to just make basic notes and assume that you’ll remember the entire conversation, never underestimate the human brain’s ability to forget the most basic and obvious things.
Because of this you should get as much detail as possible when taking notes for a message.
It can even be a good idea to get a headset if you’re taking messages regularly as this will leave both hands free for typing up notes from the call.
8. End the call
When it comes to ending the call it’s important to run though everything that’s been covered to make sure the caller is happy with the information you’ve taken.
You can then outline exactly what your next steps will be so that the caller has a clear understanding of how you will manage their enquiry and when they can expect a response if they require one.
This will present your business as professional and competent, and it will mean the caller doesn’t need to repeatedly phone in to receive updates.
9. Use a presentable and readable format
If you’re handing the message over to someone else you need to make sure that it can be read easily.
A good way to do this is to make sure the message is typed up to prevent any issues with hand writing, and to re-order any notes you’ve taken into the chronological order of events that led to the enquiry.
It can often be the case during the conversation that important information comes out later on, but it is best placed at the top of the message for clarity.
10. Get the notes to the right people
Finally, it’s important to make sure that the notes get to the right people. That might mean emailing them, entering them into a CRM or taking a print out to someone’s desk. Whoever the recipient is, make sure you get confirmation they’ve received the message.
Message taking service
As you can see from the many steps of this article, message taking for business can be more complicated than you expect.
To make sure it is done well every time, it can be a good idea to invest in a message taking service.
With a message taking service your phone lines are covered 24/7, and every call will be managed by professional PA’s who are trained in taking messages for business.
With a message taking service you can rest assured every caller will have their issue dealt with professionally, and that you will get clear and comprehensive messages every time.
You can find out more by visiting our telephone answering service page.