Call screening is more of an art than a science. You’re trying to find things out about the person calling, find out who to send to them, and if they’re worth the effort to send over to someone in a position of authority. The problem is if you’re too blunt you’re likely to make the person just hang up and look for a more friendly company to do business with. Remember potential clients are very important, and just as spending time on the phone with someone who’s only wasting your time (and potentially making you miss a call from someone serious) pushing the away by rude or abrasive is bad business. It’s not easy to find people who can delicately screen calls without being obvious, and having someone who has no experience answering phones or greeting people try call screening can result in driving business away.
If you’re hiring someone to answer phones it’s good to get a feel for how politely they can handle questioning people and directing their calls or politely turning away non serious suitors. Sometimes people are calling for the wrong thing, law firms can run into this quite easily where people don’t appreciate that a real estate lawyer might not know much about criminal defense, and getting a call in for someone facing even misdemeanor charges is not going to generate them business. And while they’re not likely to become clients in the near future, they might, and a rude rebuke is not going to win you any points. On the other hand someone who can politely handle the phone call and send them to someone else might gain a future client.
Call screening is one of the aspects of answering phones/being a receptionist that makes it a hard job to pass on to someone else as a secondary duty. Many people can be very good at many things and utterly awful at call screening, they can be overly inquisitive and drive people away. You might like to think that if you have a good enough product it won’t matter if you have someone who’s vaguely rude to a customer. People will surely see beyond something as silly as a slightly gruff question on the phone right? The problem is people aren’t that perfectly rational, and even if they go through with the process and become clients, the bad experience (especially if repeated) can make them sour on the experience and remember it worse than it was. People will also be less quick to recommend you to others, as well. In many ways, many of them hard to track, bad call screening can cost you business. If you can’t find someone in house who can handle it, and don’t want to hire a full time employee there are other routes such as answering services.
Rite Response can help you with call screening, it is important to figure out where to direct a call, and if it’s even relevant for your business. It is important to do so without driving business away though. A delicate touch is needed, so turn to a professional. They can be found online at http://www.riteresponse.com/index.html or reached via telephone at 713-868-7500.