Despite all the ways people can now communicate with businesses, the vast majority still prefer a phone call. In fact, a survey by BrightLocal found that 60% of people prefer to contact local businesses by phone—far more than any other option, including sending an email (16%) or visiting the business location (15%).
What this means? Your company’s caller experience is paramount to your business and winning over potential customers.
According to BrightLocal, when someone calls your business, this time should be devoted to closing “more deals, finding out as much information as you can, demonstrating the business’s personality and giving callers the customer service that you’d want them to receive if they were to visit the business.”
So, what can you do to enhance your caller experience and make it exceptional? Here are four key tips:
Answer every call promptly.
Perhaps the most aggravating experience for callers is when nobody picks up—especially during business hours. It’s critical to ensure that calls get answered promptly and directed to the right person who can address the caller’s question or need.
“The speed with which a customer gets to the right person is important,” says Will Schneider, co-founder and CEO of WarehousingandFulfillment.com, a Meridian, Idaho-based company that connects businesses with warehouses around the U.S. “While we’ve found some menu options and prescreening helpful, the quicker customers can get to a live person who can help answer their questions, the better.”
A business phone system with features can make this happen seamlessly and quickly. Spectrum Business Voice, for example, offers more than 35 advanced business features including call routing features such as simultaneous ring—which directs calls to multiple phone lines at once—and sequential ring, which directs calls through a sequence of numbers until someone picks up. It also includes an auto attendant, so that a business can provide callers with a quick welcome message and menu of options, so they can get to the right person faster.
Train employees on phone etiquette and protocols.
How employees answer the phone—and how they serve customers and other callers by phone—should be part of your employee onboarding and ongoing training process. After all, a phone call can make or break your business reputation and be the determining factor of whether a caller ultimately does business with you.
This may involve putting together a sample script for what someone should say when they answer the phone or compiling a list of common caller questions and responses to those questions. For example, if a common reason callers have is checking on their order status, any employee who answers the phone should know how to handle those inquiries.
An employee’s tone of voice on the phone is also important, says Elizabeth Lombardo, a business coach and speaker. It can be worth doing some role playing to ensure your employees sound friendly and helpful when they speak with callers. “A tone that is passionate, natural, and attentive can assist a customer feel at ease throughout a telephone contact,” she says.
Use a CRM.
Especially if you have a business that develops long-term relationships with your customers, make sure you’re keeping track of those relationships—so callers don’t have to repeat information every time they call.
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform provides a way for you to keep track of interactions with customers and prospects—whether by phone, email or in-person meetings. With a CRM, any employee can log an interaction with a customer and another employee can quickly look up that information if the customer calls with a question or concern.
“No one likes to be put on hold or repeat themselves as customer service bounces you around to different departments,” says Isaiah Henry, CEO of Seabreeze Management Company, a community association management company based in Aliso Viejo, California. “It’s best to connect all of your support information into one single platform.”
Check and respond to voicemails efficiently.
When somebody calls during non-business hours or when a key employee is busy, leaving a voicemail may be the only option. Make sure your voicemail message stays up-to-date and check it frequently.
Voicemail-to-Email—a feature offered by Spectrum Business Voice—will automatically send all voicemails to your inbox so you don’t have to log into the system and check them manually.
Your company’s phone experience should be seen for what it is: a critical extension of your business that customers use to gauge your responsiveness and helpfulness. It only makes sense to make it the best it can be.Print this article