In the high flying, business world of today, you only get one chance to make a first impression, especially with a new customer. If that impression is tainted in any way, you can kiss that revenue goodbye.
Is even more important to keep the customers that you already have happy. One angry customer can cause a great deal of damage to your reputation, so you must make sure that you consider every impression that you make your first impression.
One of the most important ways in which a business makes impressions upon its customers is through its demeanor on the phone. When your customer calls you, what is your customer representation saying about your company? At that point, your customer does not know anything about your brand, your product, your history or your work within the community – all they care about is the way that they are treated while they are on the phone with you. If you value the reputation of your company, you will definitely make sure that their experience is a good one.
Below are just a few ways in which you can help to better the first impression of your company over the phone. Although using these tips one by one will help somewhat, incorporating them all into your customer representation will definitely increase the impression that your business gives off.
One – Make sure that your customer service representatives are trained in a consistent manner.
Nothing is more distracting to a customer then receiving service from customer representatives that is not consistent between calls. Make sure that all of your customer service representatives have been trained in a similar fashion. This means giving them the same script to work off of when a caller first calls in. It is also essential to give your customer service representatives the same procedure to handle certain types of common problems. Your customers will feel much better knowing that you have procedures already in place to handle things that might go wrong.
Two – Make sure that you hire pleasant people as customer service representatives.
Over the phone, customers cannot see the facial expressions or hear the nuances of the person that he or she is talking to. This means that nearly everything that is communicated over the phone is about language and tone. You want to hire people that have a great tone over the phone, because an angry customer will not always be in the best mood when he or she calls.
You also want to hire people who have a good understanding of the nuances of the language. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than explaining a problem and having a customer service representative ask that customer to repeat himself because of a shorthand term for a slang expression that was used in the conversation.
Three – Once you have hired customer service representatives that you trust, give them the ability to handle certain problems themselves.
Most companies’ customer service representation does little more than pick up the phones. They are actually not authorised to help solve any problems, and customers will quickly become frustrated with this kind of treatment. If a customer has to repeat himself three times as he or she is led up the chain of command, that customer will definitely not be a customer for long.
One of the most important things that you can do as a business owner is learn how to delegate. Delegation is essential for the expansion of any business, because the owner does not have time to handle all of the problems of a business himself. When it comes to customer service, you and the customers will be much happier knowing that you have entrusted certain processes to the people that you have hired as your proxies.
Four – Control what is on your answering machine message.
I will never forget the time that I called up a certain business and was put on hold. The radio station that came on the answering machine was full of vulgar music that immediately turned me off to the business. This may seem like a humorous aside, but this is the kind of oversight that can cost you customers. Make sure that your answering machine and messages on hold recording is pleasant, and if you must put music on, make sure that you control the stream yourself.
When you have a customer on hold for an extended period of time, it is always a wonderful courtesy to time automated messages to let you know that their call is still in the queue. Think about how you feel when you hear a message on hold if there is an especially long wait – you give the business a great deal of respect for letting you know what is going on.
As you think of what would impress your customers, think of what impresses you as a customer. If you hear a real voice on the answering machine instead of a robotic one, don’t you feel better, even if that voice is recorded? Also, if you hear an approximate queue time until you can speak to a representative, doesn’t that allay some of your fears as well? Consider these things when you contemplate what type of onhold messages you want to present to your buying public.
Five – Get back to people in a timely manner.
If you must take answering machine messages, instruct your staff to handle all problems in a timely manner. You should have a process set up for returning phone calls and solving problems in a way that will leave your customers feeling good about your customer service process.
Another nice option for customers is the ability to put in their number and receive a callback from your company instead of having to wait in the message on hold system forever. There are options to include this functionality in your on hold messages if you so desire.