Customers still prefer calling businesses by phone over using the many communication tools at their fingertips, surveys show. But while calls can be a powerful sales and engagement tool, one poor customer phone experience can be costly.


That’s because a phone call can show how ably and quickly a business can address a customer’s questions or concerns—and they may take their business elsewhere if they have a bad calling experience, says Jeff Mains, CEO of Champion Leadership Group, a Plano, Texas-based business consultant. “Providing excellent customer service over the phone is essential for small businesses to maintain a competitive edge,” he says.


So, what can businesses do to make its phone experience a customer “win” instead of a “fail”? Here are three critical steps to a smoother, more satisfying phone experience:


  1. Train your employees on phone etiquette—and how to find information quickly


Anybody who answers customer calls—or may have to occasionally—should be trained on phone etiquette and how to serve customers effectively and efficiently by phone. This can include teaching them smart practices like saying the business name when they answer (so customers know they’ve reached the right place) and asking a polite introductory question such as “How may I help you?”


“Providing phone training to employees can help them improve their communication skills, develop product knowledge and learn how to handle challenging customers,” Mains says.


Putting answers to common caller questions—such as your business’ hours of operation or high-level product or service information—in an easy-to-find place, such as next to the phone, can help ensure anyone answering calls can find it.


Training employees on how to use the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform means they should also be able to look up customer-specific information—such as that customer’s next appointment date—if they call to inquire about it. 


  1. Put your business phone features to work


Your business phone service should offer features that can help you serve customers more efficiently, ensuring they reach the right person promptly and avoiding frustrating experiences such as being put on hold or having to leave lengthy voicemails.


For example, an auto attendant allows you to create a greeting and a menu of options so that callers can direct themselves to the right person or department at your business. You can set the attendant for “after hours” when the business is closed to change the menu settings and leave a different greeting. “Hunt groups” can automatically route calls through multiple employees’ phone numbers—increasing the odds all callers to your business will reach someone when they call, whether during or after business hours.


Other advanced features can allow you to customize calls to each customer’s specific needs. Spectrum Business Connect—an all-in-one communication tool for businesses that includes phone and voice services—allows you to easily transition calls from audio to video if, say, an employee needs to show the caller something on their computer screen. It can integrate with your other tools, such as your CRM, so you can easily pull up and log a customer’s details while you’re talking with them.


  1. Stay responsive with mobile


Your employees may often work remotely—or at least away from their desks. Because today’s customers expect a high level of responsiveness, it makes sense to include mobile as a valuable piece of your customer phone experience. 


You can forward your business phone number to your business mobile phone when you’re not in the office, and you can access your key business tools—such as your communications platform or your project management software—using your mobile device from wherever you happen to be.


Businesses today can’t afford to lose customers due to poor communications or lack of responsiveness, and phone is a critical piece of that. Making sure your caller experience is top-notch will only help you win—and retain—more customers.


Spectrum Business offers a range of communications and all-in-one solutions to help businesses better serve their customers. To learn more, contact us at 855-299-9353.

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