Ask anybody and they will tell you that contacting a company to complain or for any other reason by phone, is one of the most frustrating things to do. We have all waited on hold while the department we are trying to contact is experiencing an unusually large number of calls. It has nothing to do with the fact that they will not employ enough staff to provide adequate customer service!
The way you handle customer communications has an impact on the reputation of your business and the satisfaction of your customers. If you need to make changes to the way you operate, read more here to see where most problems lie.
I started a recruitment company three years ago, and my staff spend most of their days making and receiving calls. We must contact companies to let them know we have temporary workers available, and we must seek out new labour to fulfill the needs of our ever-increasing client base. Business is booming, and it is all thanks to the professionalism with which we handle our communications.
Here is how we do it and some mistakes to avoid when dealing with customer telephone enquiries.
Before we employ someone, we must be confident that they speak clearly, have a polite manner, and speak the language well. Accents are unimportant so long as the person can communicate effectively.
A receptionist answers all of our calls. They play a vital role by directing the call, placing the customer on hold, or taking their details so we can phone them back.
The customer will never be on hold for more than a couple of minutes. If someone cannot deal with their enquiry, the receptionist will take their details and arrange for a return call. They log the call on the system and must make sure someone deals with it at the earliest opportunity.
We do not use voice recordings to direct calls, but can see the need for them. If you must use them, keep the messages short and to the point and never have a menu of more than three layers. By that time, the customer’s blood pressure is beginning to rise.
Here are some other tips about customer service that will serve you well.
- If you use recordings, let the customer know where they stand in the queue.
- Listen to the customer. Nothing infuriates people more than having to explain the same thing over because you don’t pay attention. It usually happens when you are trying to do two things at once.
- Be polite. You must not interrupt when the customer is speaking. People tend to waffle, so you must be patient. It is difficult when you have a busy schedule, but it is necessary.
- Make sure your staff have the tools they need. People who find themselves bouncing from one department to another and waiting for somebody to take the call are not happy.
Above all, your staff must give the customer the respect they deserve. After all, they are your livelihood. One bad experience could mean the loss of their business forever. Practice and review the processes regularly, and your clients will be happy and bring repeat business; it is as simple as that!