Despite advancements in customer service including social media service accounts, email, and instant messaging, the vast majority of customer service is still handled over the phone.
Whether customers are contacting you to make a purchase or to make a complaint, the way that you respond to them can have a huge impact on their overall perception of your company. A great service experience could leave you with a loyal customer who promotes your brand to everyone they know while a bad experience could mean lost revenue and damaged reputation.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re providing the best phone service possible is to examine the workflow that customers follow when they call you and make sure it is optimized for a top flight experience.
HOW SOON CALLS SHOULD BE ANSWERED?
If you have a receptionist or if your customer service reps are answering calls directly, customer service standards dictate answering on the second or third ring. Answering on the first ring tends to catch people off guard, but you certainly do not want to wait longer than three rings or you risk the customer hanging up.
However, if your company has a voice recognition or automated receptionist, there is no reason to make customers wait two or three rings. Rather, the automated system can answer calls immediately to expedite the call routing process.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM HOLD TIME?
No one likes being left on hold and minimizing hold time for your customers should be a top priority. After all, sitting on hold is one of the top two complaints that people have about customer service experiences.
One study indicates that the average hold time across customer service calls is 56 seconds, which on its own does not seem too bad. However, up to 15% of callers will hang up after just 40 seconds on hold. Your customers are busy and they don’t have time to wait for you to answer the phone.
The best goal is to never leave customers on hold at all. In some cases, it is impossible to completely eliminate hold times, so keeping those measures as short as possible becomes the goal.
HOW MANY AGENTS IS TOO MANY AGENTS?
Just as no one likes to sit on hold, being bounced around from person to person does not make for a great customer experience. If the first person who answers a call cannot help the caller, it is imperative to get enough information to transfer the caller to someone who can help. Further, that information must be passed on to the next agent so that the customer does not have to repeat themselves, which is another pet peeve for many callers.
The ideal customer service call workflow will not look the same for every business. Limited resources may necessitate longer hold times or highly specialized services may mean that customers need to transfer between agents. The best way to determine the ideal workflow for your specific business is to always be tracking your customer experience metrics and to make changes where necessary to improve the flow of customers through your cloud-based phone system. With the right software, hardware, and employee training, you can have a workflow that works for you and your customers.