By Claire West

GB businesses are failing to implement basic “quality control” measures to govern how telephone calls are handled by their staff, according to research carried out by YouGov, on behalf of NewVoiceMedia.

Seventy-two per cent of senior decision makers in SME’s do not have service levels in place that dictate how incoming calls are handled, and the majority of senior decision-makers (74 per cent) have never made a “mystery shop” call to their own offices to understand how inbound calls are dealt with first-hand.

Jonathan Grant, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, says: “I’m amazed that such a huge majority of senior people don’t regularly review the way in which calls are answered and handled in their organisations.

“Despite the explosion in electronic communication, the phone remains — for many — the preferred means of contacting businesses. Callers are frustrated because they can’t get through to the right person, their details aren’t passed on from one person to the next, or they are left on hold indefinitely.”

Of the 27 per cent of respondents who said they did have service levels in place to dictate how calls should be handled, a number of senior decision makers said this was a quantitative measure; for example, ensuring staff answer calls within three or four rings.

“This type of measurement doesn’t really get to the heart of the problem,” adds Grant. “What’s the point in answering the phone quickly if you can’t respond to the caller’s query effectively? They will still end up with a negative feeling about the company.

“We’re calling for change: we want company bosses nationwide to do a mystery shop to see if they are completely satisfied with the way in which calls are dealt with inside their organisation. Only if we lead from the top will we radically improve the telephone experience for customers.”

The YouGov survey was carried out between 3rd and 6th September 2010, and covered 616 senior decision-makers in GB-based SMEs. For further detail on the results, please contact the NewVoiceMedia team at Berkeley PR via nvm@berkeleypr.co.uk.