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Transferring Calls: The Right Way

Categories: ARTICLE.

A call comes in and the person answering the phone needs to transfer it to another person or department– what’s the proper procedure here? It happens all of the time, and while most would assume transferring a call is easy, there’s actually a few key steps that cannot be skipped. If they are, your callers could be left greatly disappointed and calling your competitors for service.

So let’s take a look at the two most common scenarios:

  1. The caller is being transferred to a live human being, or group of human beings.

  2. The caller is being transferred to a voicemail box.

First and foremost, it’s important to point out that a caller should never be forced to transfer to a voicemail box. Instead, he or she should be made aware that leaving a voicemail message might be the best option. The caller then needs to agree with that assessment before being transferred. Otherwise, the caller may feel as though they were pushed off to a machine rather than handled with the excellent service you want them to be accustomed to.

So let’s look at both scenarios so that you see exactly how to handle:

Scenario #1: Transferring the caller to another department or team member.

  1. Explain to the caller that you are transferring him or her to another department or team member and explain why.

  2. Tell the caller the specific person or department you are transferring him or her to.

  3. Make sure you have the caller’s name and phone number in case the transfer fails.

  4. Ask for permission to transfer the call.

  5. Wait for an answer.

  6. Thank the caller and proceed with the transfer.

Here’s how that would go on a real call:

PHONE HANDLER:  “Mr. Jones, in order to service your request I have to transfer you to another department that can better assist you. I am going to put you through to our billing department. Is it okay if I transfer you now?

CALLER:  “Yes, that’s fine.”

PHONE HANDLER:  “Thanks, Mr. Jones. And may I please have your phone number in case the transfer doesn’t go through?”

CALLER: “212-555-1212”

PHONE HANDLER:  “Thank you, Mr. Jones, and have a great day.”

Also note that phone systems are set up to handle call transfers in two different ways: blind transfers and announced transfers. Blind transfers happen without notifying the receiving party that a call is coming in. Announced transfers involve the originating party announcing to the receiving party that a call is being transferred.

We recommend using announced transfer functionality at all times because it allows for a more personal touch with callers. You can make sure the party you are transferring the call to is ready and willing to accept the call. You can also provide the receiving party with details about the caller so they are better prepared to take the call once it is transferred.

By using announced transfers, you also have the option of not transferring the call should you discover that the receiving party is not available or not ready to handle the call. This ensures that you won’t irritate your callers by blindly transferring a call to a voicemail box or someone who isn’t ready to handle the call properly.

Scenario #2: Transferring the caller to a voicemail box.

  1. Explain to the caller that the best option may be for him or her to leave a voicemail message for the party they are trying to reach, then wait for the caller to agree.

  2. Tell the caller the specific voicemail box you are transferring the call to (which person or department).

  3. Make sure you have the caller’s name and phone number in case the transfer fails.

  4. Thank the caller and proceed with the transfer.

Here’s how that would play out on a real call:

PHONE HANDLER:  “Mr. Jones, in order to service your request better I think the best bet is to have you leave a message for Sally, our Billing Manager, so she can call you back specifically to answer your question. How does that sound to you?”

CALLER:  “Yes, that would be fine.”

PHONE HANDLER:  “Thanks, Mr. Jones.  And may I please have your phone number in case we get disconnected?”

CALLER:  “212-555-1212”

PHONE HANDLER:  “Great.  I’m going to transfer you now. Thank you Mr. Jones, and I hope you have a fantastic day.”

Spencer Peller

About Spencer Peller

Co-founder of YesTrak.com
Founder of MyDoctorCalls.com
Author of 'Own the Phone'

Since 2008, Spencer has helped thousands of clients generate more revenues as a result of improving the way phones are answered. As co-founder of YesTrak (a revolutionary live agent answering service) and MyDoctorCalls (a cloud-based call tracking and recording system), his products and services have changed the way businesses approach their inbound calls. Spencer is also the author of 'Own the Phone'-- a book that helps healthcare practices turn their phones into growth machines.

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Spencer Peller

About Spencer Peller

Co-founder of YesTrak.com
Founder of MyDoctorCalls.com
Author of 'Own the Phone'

Since 2008, Spencer has helped thousands of clients generate more revenues as a result of improving the way phones are answered. As co-founder of YesTrak (a revolutionary live agent answering service) and MyDoctorCalls (a cloud-based call tracking and recording system), his products and services have changed the way businesses approach their inbound calls. Spencer is also the author of 'Own the Phone'-- a book that helps healthcare practices turn their phones into growth machines.

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