Fact: Every time the phone rings, your business has the opportunity to either make money or lose it.
Fact: If placed on hold, most customers hang up.
Fact: If sent to voicemail, most customers won’t leave a message.
Fact: Unanswered calls and calls placed on hold cost your business a lot of money.
Failed Phone Calls Are Expensive
Do you know that just one missed phone call can carry serious repercussions for your business’ bottom line? It’s true! Not only can it cost you in lost customer revenue, but it can cost your reputation as well.
Your company may be spending a lot of money on marketing efforts, but if those efforts aren’t paying off when a customer makes the call, then it is all a waste. Think of it this way…each incoming phone call is a reputable lead and if the opportunity to convert each lead to a sale is missed, you are missing out on potential revenue.
When a person calls your business, they are actually making an emotional decision to do so. You have something they need and they have decided it is worth it to them to make that call. However, if they are met with a frazzled receptionist, annoying hold music, or sent straight to voicemail, most people are likely to hang up feeling quite unsatisfied. Chances are, they won’t call back.
For your front desk employee, training in call center phone etiquette and sales techniques is critical. If they know how to close leads and feel comfortable doing so, the number of satisfied customers can drastically increase…and quickly.
A company’s reputation is hugely important, especially among small-to-medium-sized businesses. Having an empathetic listener on the other end can make all the difference in finding yourself with a defected customer or a repeat customer.
Accomplishing this can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced customer service agent. The constant pressure of being polite and patient (especially when confronted with an upset person on the other end of the line) can be very overwhelming. Be considerate of your phone agents. Offer frequent practice sessions. Encourage relaxation exercises to be practiced throughout the day.
Meeting Your Goals
Each business should have the goals of maintaining a high conversion rate, growing the customer base, and retaining current customers. With every phone call, these goals can be met.
Here are a few suggestions that can help:
Use call-answering guidelines.
Answer calls with a consistent, scripted greeting.
Answer calls after two rings.
Note dates and times of calls. Increase phone coverage as necessary.
Do not put the customer on hold for more than one minute and don’t put them on hold more than once during the call.
Use a friendly, professional voice tone.
Ask the right questions and gather vital information.
Know the answers to common questions.
Channel your calls By adding phone lines so customers can call a specific department directly. This way, calls will be diverted to the appropriate person without needing to place a caller on hold or overwhelming the front desk. Keep in mind that these lines should be kept open for incoming calls, rather than outgoing.
Assign a phone receptionist to handle all incoming and outgoing phone calls. By taking this responsibility away from the front desk agent who is also dealing with a myriad of other tasks and customer service issues, you can give your over-the-phone customers a higher level of attention and service.
Schedule specific call-back times throughout the day, such as for 15 minutes every two hours. This reduces the amount of time a customer needs to wait to hear back from you. If possible give this estimated time information to your customer so they can know when to expect your call.
Use a call center solution to answer your incoming phone calls. This is an extremely effective way to ease your employees’ burdens, meet your customers’ needs, boost your reputation, and grow your sales.
Before you decide which route suggestion right for your business, consult the employees who routinely take your company’s incoming calls. What are their challenges? What trends have they noticed? What are their suggestions? The answers to these questions, coming directly from those in the know, can be very valuable in finding a successful solution.