Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the call.

How many times have we heard this and felt the exact opposite. I hate listening to some automated machine telling me that the company thinks my call is important to them and yet they put me on hold for more than 5 mins.

Has the company’s senior management ever waited for 5 mins on a call to register a complaint or to seek more information or ask a question?

So, what can we do to totally avoid this situation.

  1. Hire more agents. Train them well.
  2. Provide an option to request for a call back before going on hold. Make sure this works. All the time.
  3. As I have indicated in an earlier post, the most important people in a company are not its executives working out of their corner offices in the ivory towers. It’s the front-line employees, who interact, serve and sell to your customers. If they are taken care of, your customers will never be taken care of and soon enough you might not have a business to worry about. So, hire, train and retail quality people as your front-line staff.
  4. Most of your inbound calls are about the same few things. Use this to identify these few things and find ways to eliminate the need for your customers to call you for them. If it’s a recurring complaint, find a way to fix it. Fast. If it is a request for information, make sure that it is available for all your customers easily. Make sure that it is shared with your customers pro-actively.
  5. Change your on-hold music to the recording of Jerry Seinfeld entertaining people or something similar. Make sure that you have something that can bring a smile to the callers who are waiting for your team to respond to the call.
  6. If you’re closed, clearly inform the hours that you are open and the relevant websites. Also, provide an option to request for a call back. Make sure the information is accurate.
  7. Create an opportunity for the customer to provide instant feedback, while still being on the call. If you get a negative feedback, reach out to the customer immediately to identify and resolve the issue. Every single time.

Most of these are very simple policy and process changes that can be initiated quickly.

Once you implement these changes, you will find that your customers & employees are happier; your employee and customer retention rates are either increasing or is stable and the cost to service your customers is going down.

Do you think you can add to this list, ideas that could be implemented quickly and will have the desired effect – happier customers? Do share them by commenting below.

You can also connect with me on twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook.

PS: Something extra for you: An over the top funny short film titled “Your call is important to us”. Enjoy!

 

2 Replies to “Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the call.”

  1. Hi Mukesh, the video is, indeed, a tad OTT, but your story is spot on. I would add one more tip to your list: make your customer service number highly visible on your website. I *hate* companies who try to force you to use email, or some webform, simply by hiding their phone number! It’s such a childish thing to do and it’s *really* frustrating when you’re in a hurry and/or you’ve got a problem that is best discussed on the phone. Ironically, the last company that did this to me was a large telco!!

    1. Thanks for the very important tip that you have shared. I totally agree that the phone number should be clearly visible on the company site, emails, Invoices, in fact in every interaction that the customers have with the organization.

      This serves 2 purposes:

      1. It ensures that customers are able to reach out to you easily in case they need help/support.
      2. It provides a sense of emotional security that they can always reach out to the company if anything were to go wrong. This can go a long way in converting someone on the benches to try your products/services.

      Other tips I had considered to include were:

      1. Create and nurture a community (online & offline, if possible) around your organization or a product. Ensure that these communities are open, where your customers can share their thoughts and feedback openly. Ensure that your service and sales employees are always present and participate in the discussion (learning what is working and what is not) and go back to improve things that are not working.
      2. I had also written a post earlier on going away from the in-bound call center. You can either have a call back request service or use social media (like twitter) to be the defacto tool for the initial contact with the company and use an in-bound call center for premium customers only. Need to ensure that this is clearly communicated to all the customers. More information on this point-of-view @ http://rmukeshgupta.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/future-of-customer-service-in-a-social-world/

Do share your thoughts and continue the discussion