From support calls to order placement, customers contact businesses to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. Here are five things your customers expect when calling you.
Stellar Customer Service
First and foremost, callers expect stellar customer service from the moment a customer service representative first picks up the phone. Agents should answer all calls clearly and professionally, and they should have the knowledge and power to handle customers’ issues.
Monitoring calls can help businesses ensure that they provide the best customer service possible. By analyzing agent and customer behavior and changing scripts accordingly, businesses can continue to adapt to customer needs, respond to evolving issues, and meet changing demands.
When contacting a business, no customer wants to feel like a cog in a machine. Instead, customers expect a personalized experience that acknowledges their unique problems and needs. Agents can meet this expectation by forging a relationship with each customer. From the very beginning of the call, an agent can insert a personal note by addressing the caller by his or name, but there’s no reason to stop there.
Customer-oriented businesses should take full advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) software, which allows agents to enter and reference information about each customer interaction. Utilizing CRM software offers two big advantages. First, it informs agents about a customer’s previous order and support history, helping the agent to better serve the customer. Second, it provides outbound call centers with the information they need to contact customers regarding personalized order follow-ups, upcoming promotions, and future sales.
Minimal Hold Times
In a world where time is money, customers expect their calls or emails to be answered immediately. Keeping hold times close to zero can be costly for a business, but some creative solutions can help keep costs down. Better training and agent retention can help experienced agents work more quickly without creating a need for hiring additional agents. Tech-based solutions like call-back services can allow customers to hold their place without the need to hold the line.
Customers almost never phone businesses because they want to. Instead, they call because they have to, or more specifically, because they need more information than they can obtain on their own. For this reason, it’s critical for agents to have a complete understanding of each product or service they represent. After all, having insufficient product knowledge can result in a lost sale or inaccurate support information.
Since agents can’t be expected to become familiar with products or services on their own, businesses must offer adequate training to provide agents with satisfactory product knowledge. Call centers should continue to monitor customer experiences and other benchmarks to assess whether agents’ product knowledge is satisfactory or whether additional training is necessary. Top call centers should also seek out agents who can retain and reference product knowledge with ease.
For many businesses, the traditional contact method is telephone. Though many customers still contact businesses by phone, many expect additional contact methods to meet their needs. In fact, many customers prefer certain contact methods for specific issues. To address this evolving need, businesses should be prepared to offer everything from live chat to email support, text messaging, and social media.
These options require additional infrastructure and training, but they can quickly pay off. Agents who provide live phone support can typically handle only one call at a time, but agents who provide email, text, social media, or online chat support can often manage multiple customers at a time.
Managing customers’ needs is both an art and a science. As customer demands and feedback methods continue to evolve, it’s more important than ever for businesses to anticipate and exceed customer expectations.