When customers call your business, it is for a specific reason: to make a connection with your company. Whether they’re in search of information, they want to lodge a complaint, or they’re calling to tell you how great you are, the end goal is to connect with you in some way.
Your phone system is the platform that facilitates this connection, at least it should be. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which your phone system could fail, placing barriers between you and your customers and causing you to fail to meet expectations.
While you certainly can’t please all the people all the time, failing to meet basic customer expectations like answering calls can really damage your relationship with customers, and earn you a bad reputation where customer service is concerned. What can you do to prevent these undesirable outcomes? It starts with understanding some of the most common ways your phone system is failing.
Long, Boring Wait
If customers have to wait a few minutes for the next available representative to speak to, they’re probably not going to get too upset, but if they’re on hold for 20-30 minutes or more, you can bet it’s going to impact their experience with your company, and not in a good way. Even worse is if they have to listen to dead silence in the meantime.
You can curb this failure in a couple of ways. First, you should be tracking wait times so you can get an idea of high call volume periods and make sure to staff accordingly, or at least have a backup plan for overflow, like routing to an off-site call center.
Next, you’ll want to provide some entertainment while customers wait on the line, such as hold music or information about new products or services, along with frequent updates on how many calls are ahead of the customer, or estimates on wait time. You should also include an option for customers to leave call-back information so that they don’t have to continue waiting and they can be contacted when a representative is available.
It’s always a good idea to automate some features of your phone system. For example, customers seeking information about your location or store hours shouldn’t have to wait on hold when you can easily provide the information through an option on your phone menu.
That said, you don’t want your menu to be too complicated or confusing. If callers have to wander through a labyrinth of vague options, they could get frustrated and hang up. Try to create clear options and limit them to just a few, including the option to speak to an operator and the option to repeat the menu.
This is absolutely inexcusable. If, after waiting, customers can’t hear the representative they’re speaking to, the line is distorted by static, or worst of all, calls frequently get dropped, you are epically failing. If such problems occur, you need to work with your service provider to discover the point of failure and correct it post haste, or alternately, seek a more reliable service provider.