Here’s a really interesting infographic I found recently showing that although access to customer service via social media is still growing, and should be an important part of your overall strategy, the telephone is still the preferred method of contact by the majority of customers. I find it somewhat shocking that although 71% of people would prefer a telephone conversation and 92% of all customer service interactions are via telephone – 85% of those customers are not satisfied by the interaction. The majority of problems involve time waiting whether it’s in a queue, on hold, or being transferred too many times during a call.
The solution is pretty easy, at least for small business:
- Make sure you have enough people available to answer your calls most of the time. Obviously there will be occasions when there’s a large volume of calls, or a shortage of staff, but that shouldn’t be your default position.
- Make sure that the people answering the calls are not only knowledgeable enough to solve problems but that they’re empowered to solve issues that come up.
- If necessary, consider outsourcing. Don’t let the distaste about overseas call centres put you off. There are plenty of Australian companies who can help. (Let me know if you’d like me to put you in touch with some.)
The most important things to keep in mind is: that customer retention has a great value to you; the new business gained by positive word of mouth, and reviews, is invaluable; and most consumers are happy to pay more for a better customer experience. So the costs involved in making sure you can provide great customer service will probably be covered by a corresponding increase in profits.