Defining call handling is simple, it is the process and management of inbound and outbound phone calls that a business gets in a day. Now, practicing effective call handling requires some skills and overall metrics to achieve. Below, you will get a guide on the best practices for call handling that can help any call service business.

What should be addressed first is the metric of First Call Resolution (FCR) tactics. If you are wondering what exactly is FCR, well, it measures an answering service’s performance for resolving customer interactions on their first call. This means, that a company that delivers cost-efficient as well as swift customer service effectively is performing at its best, all because the customer’s journey was handled from start to finish in one call.

Repeat callers who seek to address the same issue are a setback, so a company needs to have a high FCR performance, for it drives customer service and cost performance of a business. A standard FCR is at around 60-70% of your company’s handled calls, as established by To achieve this high of a rate, companies should assign incoming calls to suitable representatives instead of available ones. Specialized representatives have a higher FCR performance than a general one. With a proper system of skill-based routing technology in place, which has a set of parameters to route calls based on customer needs, FCR will increase due to service becoming more targeted on behalf of the representatives. 

Another way to gain effective call handling practices is by establishing achievable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These indicators are measurements that address answer time, follow-up time, call routing or hold time, among others. These indicators will help assess if the answering service company is meeting a set of goals with each call answered. Although there are challenges when it comes to picking the right set of KPIs for your team, you’ll find yourself going through a  trial and error process to find a balance between what is useful information or not. Lifesize’s article on KPIs states that it is essential for these metrics to be aligned between departments, meaning no two departments share exactly the same KPIs due to each team having different goals. Another point the article establishes that is worth noting is, that many enterprises should continue to measure outdated KPIs throughout the years. Some metrics become less relevant, so it is recommended to regularly audit, review, and update KPIs to ensure the industry is keeping up with the needs of clients, customers, and the overall business.

Finally, it is important for industries within the customer service spectrum, to assess the communication style of their representatives. Identifying the adaptability capabilities of customer service representatives can aid in establishing which representatives are suited for general tasks and which are capable of becoming specialized ones. A representatives’ communication style should be matched to a customer’s communication style. Having matching styles, such as analytic representatives addressing analytic customers, or a supportive representative addressing dissatisfied clients, will create stronger connections and enhance the customer’s experience as they do business with your organization.

In the end, a business should always seek to provide a satisfactory customer journey, to ensure loyalty and repeat business. The practices discussed here will help an answering service business yield higher satisfied customer reviews. Call handling goes beyond never missing a call and saving you time, it’s about setting parameters that work to create an extraordinary customer experience for every call answered.



~F. Hernandez