There is a lot of talk about customers and their use of social media. Data tells us customers are using it more and companies must be responsive and innovative with their use of it. However, I would like to remind organizations that customer still pick up a phone and call. In many cases, they've already tried social media or your website. A 2012 Sitel Study reveals when customers have a problem with a product, 57 percent of customers search for a solution online first. So when calling, their expectations are high and their frustration could be also.
Let's review a few fundamentals of a great phone experience.
Publish your phone number on your website and anywhere else it makes sense. Be easy to find.
Have a real person answer the phone.
If you don't have a real person answering, then create an automated menu that makes sense for the customer. Make the first option the one that correlates to the #1 reason for customer calls. Offer no more than four menu options. Once they have chosen an option, give them a real person and not another menu.
Have the real person answer with a short understandable greeting. The best option is, "Company name, this is Lisa." Lift your tone of voice at the end to imply it is now time for the customer to speak. Many greetings are too long, "Good morning, this is Best Company. My name is Lisa. How can I help you?" On paper, that sounds good but in reality the employee rushes it so much that is becomes one long word and difficult to understand.
If you asked for information such as an account number via the keypad, don't ask for it again. You will only get "attitude" from the customer when they have to repeat it.
Make certain a competent, trained, and empowered person is taking the call. Scripts are irritating. Customers want real and sincere.
With that being said, call your company to learn what your customer experiences. Then work to make it better... fast.
Lisa Ford is a speaker with over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government. She speaks throughout the United States and internationally on topics of customer service, leadership, team issues, and change. Her recent book is Exceptional Customer Service - Exceed Customer Expectations to Build Loyalty and Boost Profits.
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