One of the most essential elements of any business is communication. Even if we talk about other aspects of our lives, we will see that communication is the center of every human interaction. Especially in business, communication can either make your business or break it. Your capability to effectively communicate with your clients and customers can lead you to more sales and conversions, repeat business and recommendations and referrals or it can lead you down the opposite path towards a decrease in your sales, angry and frustrated customers and no word of mouth. It could get even worse. Nowadays, with everyone on the internet, people can easily leave negative feedback about your brand or products and that bad reputation might get stuck to your image and your business might not be able to survive such a reputation.
Whether you are using phone systems for small business, chat, or email marketing, you need to ensure that your communication is of high quality and exactly according to the needs of the customers. The first thing that you have to do is to improve your customers’ experience when they visit your store or your website. A person who has a good experience will definitely believe that all the other communications will be just as good. It creates goodwill between you and your clients and leaves them with the impression that they can trust you.
One of the best ways to communicate with your customers and clients is still the telephone. People might think that they are outdated but most consumers still need to talk to a human voice at the other end of the line to feel satisfied. AI-based algorithms can only take you so far. Even though social media has become responsible for a lot of communication, but voice connections are still the number 1 way that customers want to communicate with the brands. This means that in a heavily digital dependent world, you still need human customer support executives to man the telephones so that your customers can contact you. That doesn’t mean that you should forget about the other channels. What you have to do is to keep all methods of communication open so that the customer can choose the one that they are most comfortable with.
Here we are giving you 5 ways in which you can improve your communication and thus increase your customer satisfaction rates. These rates will directly affect your customer retention rates as well. The happier the customer, the more chance are that they will visit again.
1. Make the Right First Impression
We have all heard the expression that the first impression is the last impression. And that is true. The first impression means a lot for anyone whether it is an individual or a company. In fact, it is more important for companies because there is a lot of competition out there in the market. If you don’t make the right impression on your clients, they have a host of other companies that are more than willing to take those customers off your hands.
Pick Up The Call
One of the ways that many businesses lose their business is to answer the phone in a way that the customer wasn’t expecting. It could be anything from saying the wrong or a totally casual greeting or it could be letting the call ring and not picking it up in time. If you get multiple calls on a daily basis, or during the holiday season, and you don’t have an automated system that can deal with the callers in an effective manner, then that can do some serious damage to your business and your business reputation.
A study found that more than 8 out of 10 consumers said that if they had a bad experience with a company’s automated phone system, they will avoid that company in the future. That means you could potentially lose every 8 out of 10 customers if you don’t have a state of the art system in place. For businesses whose first interaction with their customers is on the phone, an automated phone system is not a luxury but a necessity.
What a quality phone system can do for you
Once you do implement a state of the art phone system, you will be able to handle all your customers easily and effectively. The system will interact with your customers in a friendly and professional voice and let them know if there is a wait involved. It will also tell them the proper extension to call for different departments of your company. This will mean that they won’t have to wait at the other end of the line but will be kept busy.
This not only means that your customers will have a smooth and effective communication experience, but it will also mean that your employees will not have a lot of burden on their shoulders related to picking up the phone.
2. Keep hold times to a minimum
A lot of customers believe, and they are right to do so, that it takes a very long time for them to get to a human agent. According to a study, more than 60 percent of customers hang up the phone after waiting too long to talk to a live agent. Most businesses already know these statistics but are unable to do anything about it. Even in this day and age, this is a problem that most businesses fail to tackle in a proper manner.
If you want repeat orders and referrals then you need to make sure that your customers reach their proper destination within minutes of making the call. The longer the wait, the more the chances are that not only will they hang up the phone; it will also mean that they will probably steer towards one of your competitors and never come back. Word of mouth plays a huge role in any company’s strategy to increase customers. Loss of customers means loss of all the referrals that they had made or will have made if they had stayed.
Again, the answer to your problem is an automated phone system that is capable of handling all the calls and ensuring that customers get to the proper department or person that they want to talk to. Another thing that you need to implement in that system is to show people who have been waiting for a long time so that they can be handled urgently. This will decrease the number of dropped calls and ensure customer satisfaction. Integrating your communication with the right technology can give you and your business the boost that you have been looking for.
3. Make customer service calls a priority
During your daily work, you will be receiving calls from different people, from clients, customers, vendors, distributors, among others. You have to make sure that your clients are always your number 1 priority. That is the one call you cannot drop. According to a survey, 78% of consumers didn’t complete their transaction or didn’t make a purchase that they wanted to make because of poor service. To put it simply, people take it personally when you are the reason for faulty communication.
4. Speak to your customers like real people
Improving your customer service is not just about the technology that you use, it is also about the language that you use in your conversations with them. What this means is that you need to have real conversations with your customers. To explain further, a lot of companies give their customer support executives a list of scripts that they have to read from. They only have a limited amount of responses that they are allowed to make and they cannot go against the script at any cost. This is one of the best ways to scare away your customers and let them know that they are not important enough for you. Talking is important, but the thing that is more important than talking is listening and understanding. Having real conversations means that you need to listen to your customers, understand what it is that they are asking for or what their problem is and then helping them out with that problem.
Another important factor is that there are a number of ways that you can convey some information to the customers. Make sure that you say it in the nicest way possible and in a positive manner so that the customer doesn’t get negative feedback from you. Instead of saying that the product won’t be available till next week, you can say that the product will be available by next week and you are noting down the order of the customer so that it can be delivered at your customer’s doorstep as soon as possible.
A good customer service system will enable your employees or customer support staff to access the customer’s information while they are talking to them. They will be able to see the customer’s history like purchase history, purchase pattern, browsing history, and any previous interactions that they have had with the company. This can enable your customer support executives to better serve your customer.
5. Teach your employees about How to Talk to Customers
A lot of people will tell you the horror stories that they have witnessed at some company’s customer support service. What you need to do is to teach your employees how to act and how not to act with the customers. Not only does it satisfy that customer, but it will also be a goodwill gesture from your company to your customer and it will ensure repeat orders and recommendations.
When the customer is talking, make sure that you really listen. Of course, you will be going through the customer information on your CRM but that doesn’t mean that you only make automated responses to your customer. This is an effective way of your customer dropping the call in the middle as he will find out that you are not paying any attention to him.
You also need to empathize with your customers if they come to you with their problems. Find out their dilemma and you will be able to quickly present them with a solution. You should have the ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and get to the bottom of the situation. Ask questions to better understand their issues. This will also tell your customers that you are genuinely interested in giving them relief from their problems.
Look for these characteristics in your employees
To better understand your customers and help them with their problems and issues, you not only need a state of the art phone system, but you also need to have the type of employees who will go out of their way to provide an authentic, warm, and kind experience to the clients. They should want to help the customers and resolve all their issues, offer their services, and answer any and all of their questions with patience.
To do this, the first thing that you have to do is start at the beginning. That means when you interview your candidates for a customer support executive position, you should have a list of characteristics that you are looking for in your employees and you should check every one against that list to find the best people for the job. Some of the characteristics that you should be looking for are:
There are people who work for money and then there are people who really want to help others and provide them with a satisfactory experience. Customer support people are the second type; they are always willing to help someone out and they don’t mind putting in the effort or the time. It doesn’t have to be clients only; they are willing to help everyone. You can ask questions to assess your interviewees and find out if they will go out of their way to help someone or not.
Customer support people have to be considerate of others and their problems. They should have the best possible manners and should be able to uphold those against any type of customer. They should know that some customers come to them in a bad mood and that they have to stay polite throughout the conversation without aggravating the issue.
They should have the analytical skills to take a problem, break it down and then find out the solution. The better they are at problem-solving the better your customers’ experience will be.
For your system to work properly, it needs an infusion of technology and the human touch. Both these things go hand in hand and one cannot survive without the other. If you have both these elements, you will be able to meet your customers’ needs and increase your sales and your customers’ trust in