The Difference Between a Warm Transfer vs a Cold Transfer

Posted by Ahmed Macklai on July, 4 2019 7:29 pm

Transfers are almost unavoidable in the contact center setting. While there are many ways to minimize transfers and keep your staff on the line until they complete their calls and resolve consumer concerns or answer questions, there will always be reasons for transfers. Whether it’s a situation that becomes beyond the extent of an agent’s knowledge or experience or one that requires specific assistance, the causes vary - but some facts are universal.

People don’t like being transferred, especially multiple times. When it comes to being transferred, there are definitely preferences among many regarding the warm transfer vs cold transfer.

Which do your consumers prefer? Which is best for your agents and for your contact center overall? Here, we’ll advise you on how to best handle transfers and how to both minimize their use and maximize their impact when necessary.

The Problem with Transfers

Why do so many callers dislike being transferred when contacting a call center? It’s because they feel disregarded or as if their time isn’t valuable to the people they are speaking to. No one likes to feel as if they are being needlessly passed from person to person without receiving a satisfactory response to their questions or concerns.

There are ways to minimize this feeling in the callers you must transfer. It’s important to apologize if you have to transfer someone unexpectedly, offer them a clear reason for the transfer so they understand why it is happening, and to only make transfers when they are truly necessary. Empowering and encouraging agents to handle more scenarios on their own can minimize their occurrence, but they will never be done away with.

What is a Cold Transfer?

For much of the history of contact centers, transfers were straightforward in nature. A call came in and was sent to a person who was designated as the best one to handle that call. In most cases, the agent or party receiving the call was given no preparation or briefing about the caller - and the caller was treated the same way. The conversations that resulted were sometimes awkward in nature since both parties were coming into the exchange blind.

These ‘blind’ or ‘cold’ transfers were standard business practices until rather recently in most facilities - and are still used in some cases, today. When you call a smaller center that uses manual direction, you are likely to have your call transferred to an agent who will not be briefed on your identity or purpose for calling. As such, you will need to do all of this preparation yourself once the connection is made - and then do it again if you have to be transferred a second time. That can be very frustrating - enough to make some callers abandon their calls altogether - which is why so many facilities prefer the warm transfer vs cold transfer techniques.

What is a Warm Transfer?

Is there a better way to transfer calls in your contact center than the traditional cold transfer? Yes! Enter the warm transfer and see how much better things can be.

What is a warm transfer? Imagine the luxury you often see depicted in movies and television in which a secretary answers your calls for you and takes note of who is calling, where they are calling from, and what their purpose is in calling you. If you use warm transfers in your contact center, this isn’t something you have to imagine. Your agents get that luxury in their everyday exchanges with callers!

In simpler terms, a warm transfer is simply a transferred call that involves the taking of information before the transfer occurs to prepare the next party for a smoother, more organic conversation. When you know who you’re about to be speaking with and what they’re calling about, you’re better prepared to serve them. Not only does this save valuable time that would otherwise be wasted on the repetition of information, but it also keeps consumers from becoming frustrated with having to do the repeating.

What’s more, a warm transfer gives your caller a live, friendly person to speak with when they make contact with your center and directs their call in a way that feels natural if a transfer needs to occur. It’s a great way to keep consumers satisfied while effectively meeting needs - at least in most cases.

Weighing the Warm Transfer vs the Cold Transfer

As with anything, there are merits to both types of transfers in a contact center.

Warm transfers provide the preparation agents and callers alike prefer for more natural, comfortable conversation, but they also take up time that may not always be necessary. This is especially true when a caller has a simple question or concern. Many of these callers might prefer a direct, cold transfer so that their issue can be addressed quicker and their call ended sooner than if their agent took the time to have their information dictated to them by a call director.

Still, the benefits of the warm transfer are plentiful and shouldn’t be ignored when deciding how to train your staff in regard to handling transfers as part of your facility’s standard procedure. Will you make all of your transfers warm? Perhaps not. But it may pay to invest in training your staff to determine when to employ this technique and when to leave it on the shelf for another time, striking a balance between time saved and frustration spared for the consumer.

For more information on how to keep the instance of transfers low and help in understanding the differences in and benefits of the warm transfer vs cold transfer, contact the industry experts at ChaseData. We have the tools and technology to give your contact center the advantage in minimizing transfers and keeping those that happen smooth and helpful. Contact ChaseData today for more information!

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