Nothing helps a business grow more than happy customers. Happy customers turn into loyal customers, which become repeat customers. According to research from Bain & Company, increasing your customer retention rate by only 5% can increase profits up to 95%. Better still, loyal, repeat customers are much easier to convert and make many more repeat purchases than new customers.
As you can see, repeat customers can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, so it’s important to keep them happy. And, keeping your clients and customers happy means developing meaningful, lasting relationships with them. However, creating these types of relationships needs to begin at first contact with the customer and continue with every single interaction after that.
Regardless if it’s the first time a customer calls, though, or if a customer calls to complain about
something, thoughtful and professional customer service is essential. With that in mind, here are some ways that a service-focused call center can help your business promote better relationships with your customers.
Eliminate Missed Calls and Opportunities
In a recent consolidated report for phone system statistics, Finances Online shared that over 71% of consumers still prefer to do business over the phone (even with the all the other contact methods that are available.) So, when potential customers cannot contact your business by phone, chances are good they will just move on to another company that will answer the phone.
If the caller is a current customer with a problem, and you don’t answer, your brand reputation suffers even more. Nothing frustrates customers more than not being able to get a hold of a company when they need service or support. When you partner with the right call center, missed calls and missed sales opportunities become a thing of the past. And, if your customers don’t have to worry about being able to contact your company, they will trust your brand more (which increases the likelihood that they will become repeat customers.)
Direct Traffic and Reduce Phone Menu Stress
In the last few years, reports from The Conversation, HuffPost, and many other sources reveal just how much customers hate phone menus and automated systems. In fact, customers hate phone menus so much that there are now guides on how to bypass them.
When customers call, they want to hear a live (actual human) voice on the other end of the line. Call center agents and customer service representatives are real people who can direct traffic to various departments when needed, listen attentively to problems and complaints, and offer support when needed. Being able to speak to a friendly and attentive customer service agent reduces stress for your customers, prevents premature hang-ups, and helps close more sales – not to mention that it helps promote better brand reputation and customer relationships.
Minimize Customer Hold Times
Infinite hold; if you’re not familiar with it, try calling the IRS some time. There are few things more infuriating to customers than when agents, operators, or automated systems place them on hold for too long. What’s too long? Well, a PRWeb survey of 2,500 of random consumers found that 60% of respondents said waiting more than a minute was unacceptable, and more than a third said they would not hold at all. If that’s not enough to convince you of the need to minimize customer hold times, an Inc. Magazine report states that companies lose more than $100 billion dollars every year because of customer service wait times. Ouch!
If you’re handling your customer support services in house, you may not have enough people to man the phones when you need them most. This makes it incredibly difficult to handle calls from multiple customers at busy times or during peak seasons. And if the person holding on the other end of the line hangs up, you lose a potential sale or (at the least) your company’s reputation takes a hit.
A call center can add additional agents quickly, even during the busiest times. And, they can do so at much lower costs than you could by employing permanent or seasonal staff on your own. Keep this in mind; increased agent availability equals reduced wait and hold times, which equates to better customer relationships and higher levels of customer satisfaction and retention.
Address Customer Complaints and Support Issues
Customers have issues or problems with even the very best products and services, so virtually no company is immune to complaints. Therefore, when your customers do have problems, they expect prompt service and support immediately. When they reach out for support or help, it will (more than likely) be by phone.
Of course, when customers call for help, or to complain, they also expect someone to pick up the phone. But more than that, they want an attentive customer service professional to talk to. With kind, highly trained agents, a professionally run call center can do wonders to help soothe angry callers by providing experiences tempered with restraint, empathy and understanding, which are the cornerstones of deescalating complaints and repairing customer relationships.
When an angry customer reaches out with a complaint, the importance of handling initial contact properly cannot be stressed enough. With your own dedicated call center customer service team, problems associated with handling complaints and support issues are minimized and less stressful for everyone involved.
People Helping People
We have already discussed just how much customers dislike fumbling through phone menus or automated systems. However, most of the issues and problems that customers have with these systems boil down to one simple truth: they want to speak to a real person. But even then, the reasons for them wanting to speak to a real, live person go much deeper.
When customers call, they’re seeking help, advice, or even empathy or emotional support. For instance, when customers call searching for new products or services, they want advice and someone to guide them. When they’re angry and calling, your customers just want someone to hear them and perhaps even apologize. It is these types of things automated systems simply cannot do and something that well-trained call center agents do exceptionally well. In short, it’s people helping people.
Overcome Communication Barriers
According to the language-teaching gurus over at Babbel, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world (behind only Chinese). But what may be even more surprising is that the United States has the second largest population of native Spanish speakers in the world (second only to Mexico.)
What does this mean for your business? Well, it means you’re missing out on an untold amount of sales and revenue – if you don’t have someone who can converse with the people in this demographic in their native language.
The best call centers employ bilingual and multilingual agents who are fluent in Spanish and can provide excellent service and support to those customers who are not comfortable speaking English. Even if your business does not cater to the Spanish-speaking community specifically, providing access to call center staff fluent in the language can help immensely in promoting better customer relationships with those who speak Spanish.
Steadfast Brand Ambassadors
“Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless;” or so says author Jeffrey Gitomer in his book under the same name. While the sentiment may seem extreme, it is (at least somewhat anyway) reasonable. As we mentioned previously, customer retention can do wonders for your bottom line (much more so than even attaining new customers.) One major part of increasing customer retention is having motivated, competent brand ambassadors (or those that advocate strongly for your brand or company.)
A call center agent does much more than just answer the phone, provide tech support, or take orders. They promote better customer relationships by building trust and loyalty for your service and brand. Simply put, they are there to help your customers anytime and anywhere. Nothing speaks higher of your company or brand than excellent customer service through the thoughtful handling of support calls.
But it doesn’t stop there. Strong, helpful brand advocates at the customer support level help to also transform your customers into brand ambassadors. If your call center support team can help customers find solutions, solve problems, and/or rectify issues, those same customers become much more likely to speak up for your company and recommend it to others.
With IA Call Center, Better Experiences Equal Better Relationships
We get it; you’re busy running your business and doing all the things that make it great. That’s why you may not have the time (or perhaps maybe even the staffing or resources) to really concentrate on providing the best possible in-house support to your customers. Nevertheless, creating excellent customer relationships through improved customer service experiences is something you should make a priority.
At IA Call Center, we specialize in creating world-class call center service and support experiences for the customers of our clients (and we have been doing so for more than 50 years.) When you partner with IA Call Center, we tailor our services to help your company provide the best service and support possible for your customers. Perhaps just as important is the fact that we can help your business develop better relationships with your customers at costs that don’t impact too much on your bottom line.
If you’re considering ways to improve your customer service processes, we encourage you to reach out and contact us today - we can help. To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, please click here.
Ian Tempro, Head of Special Projects, at IA Call Center writes about his 20+ years of extensive contact center experience in leadership, client relationships, operations and specialized vertical markets.