For many businesses, the first, and often the only impression their customers have of the business is the one generated by the people they talk to on the telephone. Here are some of the most common customer frustrations and some quick tips on how to improve customer satisfaction while dealing with your staff & customers over the telephone.
The 5 main frustrations customers experience in dealing with telephone staff are:
1) Taking too long to answer.
2) Being put “on hold” and forgotten.
3) Being transferred and having to repeat their inquiry.
4) Being answered by voice mail and other “machines”.
5) Not having calls returned.
For many businesses, the first, and often the only impression their customers have of the business is the one generated by the people they talk to on the telephone. Surveys show that what customers really want is a prompt response by a real person, (not a “machine”) who can make a decision.
Given the advances in telecommunications technology over the past two decades, it’s not surprising that companies throughout the world have invested billions of dollars in
equipment and infrastructure in order to maximize the productivity of telephone communications with customers and prospects. What IS surprising is that some businesses invest so little in training to insure that all of this technology is utilized to maximum effectiveness.
A recent survey of the way companies handle their incoming telephone calls shows deficiencies in most firms’ responses that are serious enough to lose substantial business. The survey was carried out by leading telephone-training specialists, who conducted an anonymous ‘ring-in’ research exercise covering medium-sized and large companies.
The survey revealed that:
- Where calls are handled through a switchboard, as many as 40% of incoming calls are not answered within 10 rings and one in five incoming calls are not replied to within 20 rings.
- When calling through an operator, 62 per cent of incoming calls received no greeting other than the name of the firm, 30 per cent received a brief acknowledgment and a mere eight per cent could be described as helpful in assisting the caller.
- More than 30% of callers reported annoyances including rudeness, being cut off, perceived indifference and lack of clarity in speech.
- In one instance, a call to a major department in a leading bank resulted in 20 rings before answered by the operator. This was then followed by 14 rings to an extension before the telephone was answered by someone who then revealed that the person sought by the caller was on vacation!tips
- You can add some sparkle to your telephone voice with these strategies:
- Eliminate filler sounds like “ah”s and “um”s.
- Use pauses add drama to a conversation.
- A smile on your face WILL project over the telephone line.
- Vary your pacing, from fast to slow to medium, shifting into high gear to emphasize key points.
- Open your mouth wider to articulate words more clearly.
- Avoid running words together or slurring the ends of words.
- Practice reciting tongue twisters to increase your vocal flexibility.
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If you would like to know more about how the ASK LISTEN RETAIN System or how it can help create customer retention and loyalty, please contact us.