Everywhere, businesses are wrestling with how to offer an omnichannel experience to their customers. But in pursuing digital customer strategies, many companies often try to run before they learn to walk, letting important fundamentals fall by the wayside.
“It doesn’t matter how on the ball you think your social media presence is, or that you’ve got a chatbot ensuring that everyone who visits your site has their questions answered,” says Sacha Matulovich, marketing director for Connection Telecom. “It’s safe to assume that if a customer is phoning you, they’re frustrated and in need of immediate service. So, don’t let it go unanswered.”
The psychology of the calling customer
Once you understand why a customer is calling, it’s easy to see the value of a ringing phone.
“When a customer has a problem, they’re going to want to solve it the easiest way they know how,” notes Matulovich. “Text is the medium of the day. It can be done at the customer’s leisure – whether by instant messenger, through an email, over social media, or on your website. So, if they’re phoning you, they’re more than likely frustrated.”
“Customers can afford to go elsewhere, but can you afford to lose them?” asks Connection Telecom’s director, Rob Lith. “Can you name an industry where competitors don’t offer a level of parity among their products and services? Your customers are here for your service, but won’t be for long if there’s a lack thereof.”
The true value of a phone call
Customers aren’t just expensive to ignore, they’re also expensive to earn.
“It costs a lot more in marketing and brand building to earn new customers than it does to maintaining the loyalty of those who already buy from you,” Matulovich points out. “How much does it really cost you to answer the phone? And actually, with the right technology in place and well trained staff, the ringing phone is an opportunity.
“Instead of each call being a grudge duty, it’s important that you think of each phone call as a privilege,” argues Matulovich. “The customer is coming to you, a qualified sales lead for next to no cost – talk about opportunity. So, perhaps it’s wrong to think of the ringing phone as your enemy, but your best friend. What I do know is that a missed call is certainly your enemy.”
Have the right strategy in place
It’s critical to have the right technology, processes and people in place to ensure calls aren’t missed, and that the right level of service is given to each answered call. “With a cloud PBX system, for example, you gain some pretty valuable reporting tools,” says Lith. “Once you know how many calls you’ve missed – and the number may surprise you – who’s missed those calls, average wait times and more, you can optimise your customer service in very powerful ways.”
Tools like cloud PBX also allow you to record calls, plug calls directly into your CRM system and even create a centralised reception (or mini-contact centre) for all branches or offices nationwide. Centralising your efforts, makes consistent, quality service a much more manageable task. “Just ensure your people are up to the task,” warns Matulovich.
Once you have a well-oiled reception and the technology to not only assist but also to act as a failover, you will see huge improvements in customer sentiment. And the next time your phone rings, it might just be a customer tired of dealing with poor businesses and coming to you for a truly first class experience.