You never know when your most valuable customer will call so you need to make sure you don’t lose their business. The UK loses £12 billion per year due to poor customer service and 50% of customers admitted that they would take their custom elsewhere if they received inadequate customer service. That’s a lot of custom that businesses are losing and if you’re a growth-focused and ambitious business, you need to make sure that you retain as many of these customers as you can.
Are you guilty of any of these worst practices? If so, you may be missing out on valuable business every day…
1. Keeping Customers On Hold
If a customer calls your business, there’s nothing more frustrating than being kept on hold for what can feel like an eternity.
No matter what issue they’re calling about, answering a phone call quickly makes the customer feel valued. Putting customers on hold just gives them more time to dwell on their problem until they reach their ‘boiling point’ - the 13 minute mark.
A recent survey showed that 60% of consumers would hang up after being kept on hold for one minute, and 32% of customers believe that customer service departments should answer the phone immediately, with no hold time.
Some phone systems have a multi-line hunting feature which means that if a customer rings and the desired line is busy, the call is immediately redirected to the next available line - minimising the amount of hold time. Ask your phone systems provider if this an option for your company.
2. Repeatedly Transferring The Call
Once the call has been answered, the customer wants to speak to the appropriate person as soon as possible in order to have their problem solved. It is understandable that this may mean some call transferring, especially if the customer didn’t ring the relevant department directly, however, try to limit the amount of transfers as often as you can.
When transferring a call, take the time to find out who deals with the query at hand and put the customer straight through to them. Passing the call from department to department, without much thought to where it’s going will only aggravate the customer.
It’s also important to make sure that your phone system has a smooth forwarding feature. If it’s clunky and if it’s an awful experience for the customer, the situation is made worse.
3. Not Asking About a Customer’s Problems or Goals
When speaking to a customer, always make sure that you ask about their problems and goals.
Customers won’t invest in your products if they don’t solve their issues or help them achieve their goals, so it’s important to take on board what they want to gain, and personalise your pitch to fit the individual consumer and explain how your business will aid them.
Making sure that everything you say is relevant to the customer, and not just reeling off a list of services they won’t benefit from, will make the consumer feel like you care about them and improve their sentiment towards the company.
4. Not Returning a Customer’s Calls
If it isn’t possible to speak to a customer there and then when they contact you, instead of keeping them on hold or asking them to call back later, 63% of customers have expressed a preference for call-backs.
Not returning a call from a customer only makes things more difficult for them as they are then left with the inconvenient task of having to keep calling in the hopes of catching you at a good time.
Furthermore, not returning a call gives the impression that your organisation doesn’t care about its customers. In order to provide good quality customer service, it is vital that you stay on top of returning missed calls.
5. Lying to Customers
Probably the worst thing you could do in customer service is lie to the customer - for example, telling a customer their problem is being worked on and will be solved within the next few hours when it could actually take days or weeks.
Telling your customer the truth, and providing them with realistic information about their situation, even if that may not be the most positive news, is always a better option than telling them what you think they want to hear.
Being upfront and honest with them may initially cause upset, but will have a better outcome.
Lying to a customer, even just once, will erase your credibility and tarnish their view of your business.
How many were you guilty of?
It can be easy to sink into bad habits, especially if calls are busy or if a customer is angry. However, avoiding these five bad practices will ensure that your customer service is well managed and will help improve sentiment towards your brand.
When your most valuable customer rings your office, you want them to have the best possible experience.
If you found this article insightful, you may want to try our online calculator to find out how much revenue you would lose if your phone systems went down for a day.