“Market research indicates that 80% of respondents said they prefer above all else to call companies when they have an issue or a question.” – ConsumerReports.com
Commercial conversations, bargaining, and business interactions typically proceeded via word of mouth in the markets and bazars of antiquity. The human element comprised the centerpiece in such exchanges. Similarly, modern businesses interact with their clients and customers through oral conversations conveyed over telephone lines and wireless communications systems. However, the multiplicity of customer choices and the march of digital technology has imposed certain constraints on modern business conversations. Therefore, brands and business must work to deploy customer friendly telephonic interaction systems with a view to promote customer convenience. This is important in modern business landscapes because customers are typically time deficient creatures and require quick help with products and services. We will examine some of the techniques that can help businesses achieve a customer friendly stance in the paragraphs below.
A simple menu must govern all telephonic interactions between brands and their customers. We note that interactive voice response systems have evolved into complex mechanisms designed to guide customers to expert advice. However, the complexity of such IVR systems can challenge the customer friendly quotient of a business enterprise. Ergo, commercial organizations must keep the end-user experience in view while designing the interactive voice response menus. A short menu that concludes in four to five options is optimum to serve most modern customer queries. Thereafter, the system can guide the customer up the ‘call tree’ into an acceptable resolution. The essence lies in simplicity because satisfied customers will likely relate a positive experience to their many friends and colleagues. In addition, customers that are satisfied with their call experience will likely reinforce the customer friendly image that most brands seek to cultivate.
The human element is intrinsic to all conversations. The advent of machine technologies and the commercial applications of artificial intelligence must not excise the human element in a customer care center operation. This assertion stems from the fact that most customers prize their interactions with a human being. In achieving this, a brand can ceaselessly promote its customer friendly credentials and burnish a business reputation that pulls it ahead of the competition. Human agents are better placed to assess a customer problem and create a solution that matches customer expectations. The interaction also encourages confidence in a customer to query a business in the future. Further, confident customers are less likely to migrate to competing brands; therefore, a customer friendly telephone system allows businesses to retain their customers. In addition, an interaction with a call center agent and other company employees is likely to promote customer satisfaction with a brand or business.
Serious business enterprises must make an effort to create professional sounding telephone menus. One of the best practices in the industry involves hiring professional voice over artists to record an outbound greeting and the subsequent phone menu options. This course of action helps a business to engage with its callers and retain their interest in the course of a telephone-driven interaction. We note that this tactic essentially underlines the customer friendly attitude of a company to its many clients. Further, a professional voice greeting sets the tone for a serious business interaction thereby creating the outlines of a positive business outcome. The level of professionalism also instils confidence in new customers to pursue a telephonic conversation that may involve troubleshooting for product features, etc.
Business managers and quality analysts must make it mandatory for customer care center operations to record customer calls for analysis. This is important because the insights gained from such actions can help to refine the telephonic best practices for staff persons. In addition, analyzing customer calls also indicates the most common pain points encountered by customers. This input can help a business to design better and customer friendly products in the future with a view to expanding its market share. A regular practice of analyzing customer calls also instructs a business in terms of implementing telephonic best practices with a view to improve the customer experience.
Voicemail systems represent a recent invention in telephony technologies. However, the massive use of voicemail often aggravates customers that are seeking a solution to product or service problems. Therefore, experts advise that businesses should remove voicemail from their customer care operations in a bid to serve the customer better. The extensive use of voicemail can negate the customer friendly image of a company and erode the public trust invested in its brand image. Moreover, voicemail projects an image of overt automation and this can affect the customer experience. The intervention of a human operator is likely to help customers to quickly convey a problem and seek a reasonable solution. In light of the above, removing voicemail systems from a ‘call tree’ can work positively in reinforcing the customer friendly attributes of a brand or business.
Customer engagement remains key to a satisfying end-user experience. This factor is also a key business metric that drives management actions. Therefore, customer care center operatives must cultivate the art of listening to the customer’s narrative. A clear understanding of the customer’s problem can help operatives issue correct instructions in short order. The operative can also create a solution for the customer within the norms of the possible. These stances and attitudes can drive a conversation with customers to a satisfactory close and help businesses to attain a customer friendly image. This instance also spotlights the importance of training for frontline staff members. Trained and motivated employees can help a business to boost its market reputation and attract new customer segments into its fold.
Business automation has a wide remit in the modern world. Commercial organizations that operate customer contact centers can implement the use of smart contact center software packages. This action enables a business to ‘call back’ the customer(s) at a time convenient for the latter. This persistent attitude can convince clients and customers that a business remains serious about client service; hence, we may state that business automation can be harnessed to create and sustain a customer friendly image of a business enterprise.
‘First call resolution’ should be a watchword for business operators. This stance enables a business to solve a customer problem in the course of a single telephonic conversation. Business pundits acknowledge that this stance helps a brand to gain a competitive edge and boosts its reputation among customer communities. In line with this, brands and businesses should polish their customer servicing protocols. Every human agent should be equipped to deal with the myriad problems a customer may face in the course of using a service or product. Business managers and team leaders must encourage their staff to learn about their company’s products and services and adopt a pro-active attitude to customer service. This set of practices can help a business to achieve ‘first call resolution’ on a consistent basis.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that enable a business to construct and sustain a customer friendly telephonic interaction system. These techniques are open to permutations, combinations, and refinements that are driven with a view to attain service excellence. This can create enduring benchmarks of modern customer service.