Do you need a more efficient approach to transfer business calls that eliminates the need for your customers to repeat their queries each time?
An innovative solution to the problem is a consultative holding service, also known as a warm transfer. Using this, agents and receptionists transfer a call without making the customer restate their request when they connect to a new agent.
Result: You will save precious time and money while improving your customer service quality.
Don’t waste another minute! Learn how to use a warm transfer to make your call center operations more efficient and save your customers time.
What is a Warm Transfer?
A warm transfer, also known as a consultative hold, is a type of call transfer where the agent or receptionist patches the connection onto another agent, a supervisor, another department, or an external phone number while keeping the caller on hold. When the call connects to the destination agent or manager, they quickly walk them through the call’s context before completing the transfer.
The original agent who transfers the call can remain part of the conversation (three-party conference) or drop out at any time if they no longer need to speak to either party.
Not all call transfers take place the same way. When call center efficiency is the key, then agents often use another form of transferring calls, known as blind or cold transfers.
Warm transfer vs cold transfer
Unlike in a cold transfer, in a warm transfer, the receiver is aware of the context and the reason behind the call.
By contrast, a cold transfer is when an agent transfers a caller to another department or party without giving any explanation, essentially transferring in the blind. This forces the caller to restate their question or situation again, adding frustration and wasted time. A cold transfer is also known as a blind transfer.
Why choose warm transfer vs cold transfer?
During a cold transfer, a customer gets abruptly transferred to another agent or company representative. Sometimes the transferring process happens without them knowing why they’ve been transferred, and most times without knowing who they’re speaking with. They’re left to wait on hold, which can be extremely frustrating.
The effect on employees is the same; employees don’t get the background information for transferred callers, so each contact comes in cold as well.
This lack of insight can lead to customer dissatisfaction as they wonder if the new person will actually help them or just send them back into an endless loop of hang-ups and frustration.
On the other hand, in a warm transfer/consultative hold, the customer and agent are aware that they are transferring and about to speak with someone new. This gives everyone involved the chance to talk about their questions and needs before continuing. Instead of placing your caller on hold, you can keep the conversation flowing until the next agent answers.
Although cold transfers may seem like the easiest option, especially for a busy receptionist or call center agent, they can do more harm than good by frustrating customers and potentially leading to lost business. On the other hand, Warm transfers are a great way to ensure that your customers and agents are happy and satisfied with their experience. It is especially important to consider warm transfers over cold transfers when you are dealing with an irate customer.
In short, when you need to prioritize customer experience over efficiency, then you should choose warm transferring over cold or blind transfers.
When to use a Warm Transfer
In general, a receptionist service or a company’s customer service should select warm transfers over blind transfers to improve the customer service experience.
For outbound sales, representatives should choose warm transfers when a new prospect expresses intent and availability—to close business deals faster. It is also an effective way to move customers along in the sales process, preventing them from getting stuck on one step.
Inbound customer service reps can use warm transfers as a way of politely passing customers off to other departments without having to say goodbye or hang up. It’s perfect for when an agent does not have the relevant information required to solve a customer’s query.
A warm transfer is especially useful when a customer service representative requires information from a department that is not conventionally customer-facing. For instance, if the caller needs to consult the accounts department for a billing issue, they have the option of placing a customer on hold (something customers hate), while they get the relevant knowledge, or they can conference-in the relevant party, and be there throughout the call to ensure customer satisfaction.
Here are some examples of using a warm transfer effectively
- When a caller accidentally connects to the wrong department, your agent can initiate a warm transfer to the correct department so that the caller doesn’t have to repeat any information they already gave your agent.
- When an agent cannot solve a problem, a warm transfer to a colleague or a supervisor can provide immediate help.
- Agents can also take advantage of a warm transfer to consult a technical team or someone with deeper product knowledge anytime during the call and then conclude the call themselves (using three-party conferencing).
- Outbound call centers can use warm transfers to qualify leads before passing them on to senior account representatives to close deals faster.
- Customer care executives can promote offers and warm transfer the interested customers to sales representatives. A warm transfer will be perceived as more polite and considerate than a blind transfer and may help clinch the sale.
The Advantages of Using Warm Transfers
That leads us to discuss the advantages of providing warm transfers instead of cold transfers. We all know that fast and efficient customer service is of the utmost importance in the call center industry.
Warm transfers can help you ensure that business inquiries are smooth and quick. Here are some of the leading reasons for choosing consultative holds instead of cold transfers.
Fast service: It can be difficult for customers who have been waiting for a while before being helped by an agent if they are then blind transferred or put on hold while
Avoid repetition: Customers don’t have to repeat their issue every time the call transfers; this reduces customer frustration and can reduce average handling time.
Advanced Knowledge: Agents get context before handling a call, so they are better prepared to resolve the problem/close the deal.
Quick problem resolution: You increase first-call solutions and speed conversions because when agents cannot solve a problem/answer a query, they quickly transfer calls to those who can.
How to Make Warm Transfers
A warm transfer is a feature that you will find on the agent dashboard of your cloud contact center software, or business phone system.
The transfer process is easy within Ozonetel’s virtual cloud telephony solutions. These simple steps show you how you can transfer a call to another department, an external number, or another agent or supervisor within your department.
Step 1: Click on the “Transfer” button located on the “Calls Control” bar at the bottom of your agent dashboard. You can do this anytime during an ongoing call.
Step 2: Next, choose whom to transfer the call to from the drop-down menu in the window popup. Your virtual selection options are a skill, phone number, or agent. Let’s look at each below.
Transfer to another department: Choose “Skill” from the drop-down menu to transfer calls to another department. Each skill represents a department or set of call center agents. These skills are defined during your contact center software setup.
Transfer to another agent: If you want to transfer the call to a specific team member, select “Agent” and choose the call center agent’s name from the drop-down menu.
Transfer to another phone number: Select “Phone” to connect your customer/prospect to an external number. (For example, to transfer a call to a supplier or any other third-party vendor.)
Step 3: After you have made your selection, select “Consultative Hold” in the drop-down menu for “Type” and click on the transfer button.
When the call connects, you can quickly brief the agent/supervisor/third party vendor about the context of the contact. During this process, the customer is on hold by default.
Step 4: To patch the customer into the call, click the hold button on your call control bar located at the bottom of your agent dashboard.
Step 5: You can drop out of call at any time by clicking the phone icon below your “Call Control” bar at the bottom of your agent dashboard.
Warm transfers provide higher customer satisfaction and circumvent the cold contact experience. When callers and agents know what’s going on and can ask questions before continuing, conversations improve significantly.
By following the simple steps listed in this guide, you can easily provide a positive customer experience while increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. You may even notice a decrease in customer service calls altogether.
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