Good morning, I am trying to develop phone protocols and wondering if any other councils who already have these in place would like to share. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Not sure if this is what you are looking for but I have also been working on a similar protocol.
Assisting with Telephone Enquiries
A majority of the interactions that Council has with the public is by the telephone. It is important that we are professional and helpful when we assist customers on the telephone. Every ringing telephone belongs to you.
Some customers may have difficulty using the telephone and could easily become confused or frustrated. You may not be able to tell from your telephone conversation whether your customer has a sensory impairment, or a dexterity problem, or difficulty with information retrieval or recording. Please be patient.
• Answer each call with a smile on your face. You will be surprised at how different your voice sounds
• Before you answer the telephone be ready with a pen, notepad and appropriate reference materials to assist with the enquiry.
• Greet your customer with “welcome to Clarence Valley Council” followed by your name ( first name only)
• Be attentive, polite and use respectful language
• Ask the caller how they would like to be addressed e.g. first name
• Appropriately identify the customer prior to releasing any information, things such as checking: full name, address, mobile/home number, email address, property ID number etc. Confirm at least 3 pieces of identity prior to releasing information to ensure customer privacy standards are met.
• Make any updates to customer records e.g. update phone numbers/ email etc., home/postal address, while you are confirming identity
• Actively listen to your customer, give verbal nods, reassuring noises can also be used to show courtesy. When the customer speaks for a long period of time, it could be disconcerting to hear silence on the other end of the phone. So, verbal nods such as saying “I see”, “uh huh” can help to reassure them.
• Clarify what the customer is asking you
• Ask clarifying questions
• If you need to place your customer on hold, ask permission first
• Thank the customer for being on hold when you take then off: “thanks for holding for me (customer name)”.
• Prior to transferring a call provide the new staff member the customers’ name and enquiry details so that the customer does not have to repeat themselves.
• Give the customer options where possible, if needed have the customer take ownership of the call
• Re cap with the customer why they called and what you have done to assist them
• Thank the customer for calling
REMEMBER: It’s not just the speed with which we answer the telephone that is important. Very often, the quality and helpfulness of the response we give to the caller is more important.
Clarence Valley Council