A company may be aware of the face it presents to the public but it also needs to be aware of its voice – specifically, the voice of the people staffing its call center. That’s because customers form their first impression of a company by the attitude of the person answering the phone.
And that makes the call center an important asset because it represents perhaps the only opportunity businesses will have to build a relationship with customers they’ll never see.
The Human Voice vs. Automation
When a customer service call begins with a phone call looped through an automated system called an Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, customers can easily become dissatisfied or even angry. Such a system often seems to steer customers in every direction except the one that leads to a human being and a solution to their issue.
It’s understandable why many people are annoyed with the difficulty of getting a live person on the phone but customers who are aged 50 or older are even more likely to be driven to distraction by confusing automated phone messages.
The reason companies use such systems is because they’re cheaper and more efficient than hiring more people to handle all the calls they get, but customers hate them. In one survey, 71 percent of people said they were “tremendously annoyed” when they couldn’t reach a live customer service rep on the phone and 56 percent were just as aggravated when they had to make multiple phone calls in order to get the right person, or indeed any live person on the phone.
Live Reps Improve Customer Satisfaction
In this modern age, there’s a lack of truly satisfied customers. Because customer expectations for service have gotten so low, a company scores points and may even be viewed as having superior customer service, simply because they have living breathing people answering the phones; no button pushing or talking to a computer required.
Many companies have come to realize that using living breathing customer service reps to answer their phones makes for happier customers. Having real people answer calls also tends to reduce wait times for callers.
Automated Equals Longer Wait Times
Automated phone systems might not make customers quite as angry if they didn’t take up so much time. Callers forced to deal with an automated system can expect longer hold times for customer service; the average is 1 minute, 51 seconds. On the other hand, when live agents answer the phones, hold times are reduced to an average of just 51 seconds.
The Cost-Effective Answer
It’s clear that customers who can quickly access a friendly, helpful voice on the phone are more likely to be happy, repeat customers. For many companies, the cost of hiring, training and paying salaries and benefits to extra help just for handling service calls in-house is excessive. Outsourcing your customer service needs to a call center is the cost-effective answer.
Benefits Call Center Customer Service
The top 7 advantages of using a call center for customer service are as follows:
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Significantly improves service quality during peak hours
- Reduces loss of customers due to long wait times
- Increases service levels
- 24/7 customer support
- Ensures business stability during an emergency or power outages
How Call Center Reps Handle Calls
Call center reps are trained to become familiar with your products and/or services so they can effectively answer customer questions and concerns or direct the caller to the proper expert. They are also provided with information about your company’s culture, mission, core values and vision so they can understand their role in achieving your business goals.
Reps understand the role they play in building customer relationships, as well as the cost of a bad interaction. They know that the quality of the service they provide directly impacts customer conversion, retention and loyalty.
Call center reps have been provided with examples of appropriate greetings, transfer techniques and how to end a conversation.
Call center reps are the voice of a company. They …
- Know how to put a smile in their voice
- Show a genuine interest in the customer’s question or concerns
- Understand a caller’s needs and make every effort to help them
- Make sure their conversations are in line with corporate values and goals
- Always remain calm and treat each caller as if they were the most valued customer
- Never lie, guess or make up an answer
- Are always courteous
- Can handle difficult situations
- Never introduce their own biases into a conversation
- Expect the unexpected and are prepared to handle it
Positive brand awareness is critical to any company’s success. Call center reps can help a company gain a reputation for trustworthiness, honesty and effectiveness while freeing the company’s other employees to do what they do best within the company.