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The top 5 fundamentals to improving your telephone customer support
September 9, 2019

The top 5 fundamentals to improving your telephone customer support

Written by: Mark Engelmann

Did you know that 8% of customers stop doing business with a company because of poor service? Yet 95% of dissatisfied customers would continue to do business with a company if their problem was solved quickly and satisfactorily? (Secret Customer, 2019).

With technology advancing over the years, it is easy for us to assume that phone communication is of lesser value. To most, digital communication (email, text, online chat, etc.) offers a sense of ease that phone communication does not. While hold times are the losing battle for phone calls, they are still one of the most beneficial communication channels out there. So, is your phone-based customer support up to scratch?

Here are our top 5 steps to improve your phone-based customer support to ensure customer retention.

  1. Under-promise and over-deliver

    Never promise big. Promising big and failing to achieve will leave a customer more dissatisfied than ever. The trick is to under-promise and over-deliver. A simple yet effective approach that will leave the customer thinking the world of you.

    Can’t deliver what you had hoped for? That’s okay. In the worst-case scenario where you can’t deliver what you promised; you can put your mind at ease knowing you never promised something hefty in the first place. Sometimes we can’t deliver the best-case scenario for our customers, as long as they know we tried everything possible, it’s okay.

  2. Quick issue resolution

    The most common reason for a call is to fix an issue. Phone communication is in real-time and therefore, is the quickest way to resolve an issue in a customer’s eyes. By recording and auditing previous calls, you will be able to determine your customers’ most commonly asked questions and the most common issues they experience. From there, you can ensure ALL staff who answer inbound calls are trained to respond effectively to these for a quick resolution. Having your staff trained and prepared for potential questions and issues, will reduce time spent resolving future issues (and waiting times). Therefore, leaving your customer satisfied and impressed with their experience.

  3. Efficiency first

    People value efficiency over knowledge, clear communication, friendly service and empathy (Clutch, 2019). If other support channels are available (social media, email, etc.) and customers choose to call, they are only willing to wait 2 minutes for a response as opposed to the other channels (social media: 1 hour, email: 24 hours) (Clutch, 2019). Again, training in appropriate areas will ensure all staff are prepared for certain questions and/or issues. Having a fast response or being able to solve an issue quickly will leave you with a very satisfied customer. Remember - efficiency is key.

  4. Reduce waiting times

    Customers tend to find long wait times the most frustrating factor when communicating via phone. Ensuring the efficiency of your phone support will reduce waiting times and improve the overall experience for your customers. By auditing previous calls, you will also be able to determine the times calls are received. If there is an influx of calls at a certain time of day or a certain day of the week be prepared and resource appropriately..

    If waiting times are a big issue in your company, consider a ‘call back’ option. Customers can follow the prompts and request a call back from an operator to save them from listening to that awful on-hold music longer than necessary.

  5. Finish with a win

    It is no surprise that customers expect you to go to any lengths necessary to resolve an issue they may have. And so you should. Doing a lousy job for a valuable customer jeopardises your reputation. Even if you can’t deliver the best outcome for the customer, they will appreciate the fact that you tried everything you could to help them. This should leave them satisfied with their experience, maybe not happy, but satisfied knowing you did everything you could.

When finishing a conversation with a customer, always finish on a good note.

The benefits of getting it right...

By providing positive and efficient support, you’ll see a direct correlation to retention and business growth. First class telephone support can help:

  • Build a good reputation for your business
  • Improve customer retention and loyalty, and
  • Create positive word of mouth for your business which may lead to referrals or recommendations.

If you need some assistance with customer service in your business, download the following brochure to understand how offshoring certain roles can help your business scale and grow. Download here.

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