Imagine telling 60 percent of your customers to get out—to just leave without completing their transactions or even describing their needs—after spending only a minute in your store. Sounds ridiculous, but well over half of callers hang up after being on hold for a minute. It’s bad for your bottom line and hurts your ability to resolve customer service issues.
Luckily, this and other call center faux pas have solutions. In this piece we’ll look at five common mistakes agents and organizations make when customers call, and how to avoid them.
Agent: “This is Jane. I’m happy to help you today. Can I have your name, reference number, and name. And reference number.”
Caller: “But I just gave all that to Jeff, and Melissa, and the first guy. I forget his name.”
Asking for the same info again and again wastes time and gives customers the impression that you have no idea what you’re doing. Having a telephony system that tracks data and calls both can increase efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. For example, you can track voice menu/IVR inputs so that your agents see all of that information right in the real-time call log when they get on the phone and don’t have to ask for it again.
2) Never-ending transfers and holds
Agent: “Thank you for holding, can you please hold?”
Caller: “No, please! Are you a person? I’ve been holding for 53 minutes already!”
Speaking of wasted time, nothing makes customers feel unvalued like putting them on hold—particularly for long stretches. It doesn’t matter how smooth the jazz is or how often you remind them, “your call is important to us,” if you’re keeping them waiting, you’re probably not keeping them as customers. If your holds and transfers are increasing, it might be time to try new ways of routing or queuing calls. Or, try providing your customers with useful waiting announcements with suggestions of other ways they could find information they need while they are on hold.
3) The awkward opener, delivered poorly
Agent: “Thank you for calling Brand ABC a subsidiary of Brand Corp USA
America’s Biggest Provider of Brand Corp USA subsidiaries. [Deep breath] How can I[mumble]your[mumble]?”
Caller: Irritated already.
Making sure your company’s tagline and pedigree get mentioned is important to you, we get that—but is it important to your customers? There are times and places to acknowledge your brand, and the beginning of every single conversation is not one of them—especially if it’s so lengthy that agents feel compelled to rush through it. Great your callers naturally, with just the basics and, if you’re able, by name. In short, make it like any other conversation. Try using whispers to announce your company right before the live agent picks up. You can record them using professional voice actors, in the voice of your CEO etc and you can make sure they are delivered perfectly every time.
4) The menu from Hell
Robot voice: “For customer service press one. For customer service involving new accounts press two. For customer service involving repeat accounts or accounts under new contracts press three. For customer service involving combined accounts or individual accounts press four. To continue this menu in English press five.” Caller: <click>
Overly specific or overly cryptic menu items can leave customers confused about what number to push. Keep menus simple—and find ways of routing calls based on geography, marketing channel or caller history that direct them to the best department or agent automatically.
The condescending website referral
Caller: “Hi. I’d like to pay my bill.”
Agent: “Certainly. You can simply go to brandabcbillpay.com and do that using your credit or debit card.”
Caller: “I tried that but—“
Agent: “All transactions are handled securely—“
Caller: “Yes, I entered my info but my browser—“
Agent: “And you can also learn about our other award-winning services by clicking on the—“
Caller: “Can I please just pay my bill?”
You’re under the ever-present pressure of marketing metrics to drive eyeballs to your website. But callers have reasons for calling rather than clicking and it’s crucial to recognize their preferences and problems—and respect rather than redirect them.
5) Win Over the Hang-ups
Now imagine getting that 60 percent of hang-ups back in the store. Think about what it would mean to your business to engage those customers, to complete their transactions and solve their problems—and to do it more efficiently. Having the right call tracking software and processes in place is win-win. It’s good for your customers and it’s great for your business.