When the phone rings at your organization, what happens?
Does someone answer it immediately? Are callers sent through a series of prompts before they can talk to anyone? Does someone answer the call and immediately place the caller on hold? How long do customers wait? What do they hear while they wait?
Do you even know?
It’s possible that you haven’t thought about these questions for a while. Customer calling experiences are easy to overlook as they are typically a set-it-and-forget-it kind of system. You set up once and let it run for years before revisiting, readjusting, and revising.
But customer calling experiences can’t be forgotten or ignored. They are important because:
- Customers are still using the phone to connect with organizations (even though most businesses have online resources and support).
- Callers are highly engaged prospects that are often ready to do business with your organization.
- Customers hang up if they aren’t engaged on the phone. Failing to answer in time may lose you customers.
- Most businesses spend almost all of their marketing budget trying to get customers to call — yet fail to optimize the calling experience.
- With the right messaging, you can sell to customers while they are on hold.
(We have some stats to prove it. Check out 9 Stat-Backed Facts That Prove Customer Calling Experience Still Matters.)
So, if you haven’t thought about your calling experience in a while, it’s time to consider what your customers might be thinking when they call you.
Use the questions above to think about your customer calling experiences, and then decide if it is possible that your customers are having these thoughts when they call you. If they are, you need to start updating and improving your calling experience.
So, what might your customers be thinking when they call?
1. “This business doesn’t care about me.”
It’s no secret that people don’t like to wait on hold or struggle to talk to a live person when calling a business. A study by AT&T found that 60% of customers hang up when left in silence on hold.
When customers call, they want to feel important and engaged. But when they call and are left in silence or unable to connect with a live contact, they feel the opposite. Customers feel as though the business doesn’t care about providing a good experience for them.
2. “This is so frustrating. Ugh, what a waste of time.”
When callers are left on hold without any type of engagement, they first feel ignored and then they feel frustrated. A survey from HelpScout found that 67% of customers have hung up out of frustration of not being able to talk to a person.
Customers call a business to talk to a person. So if you provide negative customer calling experiences – where they have a hard time connecting with a representative in a short amount of time – they will hang up.
3. “This company is a joke.”
As a professional organization, you must give off a professional impression at all of your customer touchpoints. This includes the calling experience.
When you fail to provide messaging with professional branding and voiceovers, your business may appear amateurish. If you leave customers on-hold in silence, your organization will seem less polished and attentive to details. If your stale message mentions the wrong season, long-expired offers, or even incorrect hours or locations, you look just plain foolish.
4. “They aren’t as good as [insert competitor].”
Customers are always comparing you to your competitors. Don’t let a poor customer calling experience give them a reason to put your competitors above you.
Look at how your competitors manage their phone messaging and make sure you provide more engaging on-hold messaging and a better overall experience for your customers.
5. “This could have been so much easier.”
Google discovered that the top reasons people call business were to: check business hours (52%), make a reservation or schedule an appointment (51%) and inquire about inventory, availability or booking information (47%).
Consider these situations and other reasons why customers regularly call your business. Then, see how you can provide those answers or resources to customers in a way that doesn’t require calling your business or waiting for a representative.
This can expedite the calling process and decrease the number of callers, making it easier for you to manage phone lines and give customers your full attention.
So, how can you improve customer calling experiences?
If you went through this list and realized that your customers could be thinking these things when calling your business, it’s time to make some changes.
Update your on-hold messaging so that:
- Callers are never left in silence. Present them with on-hold messaging or music.
- Callers are offered information they are seeking. Use your message to share answers to frequently asked questions (hours, location, directions, etc.).
- Callers are directed to another resource. Add a FAQ section to your website and guide callers to that resource so they can find another avenue to the information they need.
- Your messaging and music match your branding. Use voice talent and music genres that match the tone and voice of your organization.
- Your messaging promotes your organization, products, services, and events. Capitalize on having a highly-engaged audience by sharing info about your promotions.
- Callers can talk to real people. Use auto-attendants and interactive voice response (IVR) menus to quickly route calls and decrease wait time.
While it’s often overlooked, the calling experience is a major customer touchpoint that shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored. Don’t neglect this opportunity to wow your customers, improve your branding, and increase your sales.
Discover other ways to maximize your customer calling experience and get more tips, stats, advice, and directions for upgrading your phone system by grabbing our free ebook “Is Your Customer Calling Experience Costing Your Business? Everything You Need to Know Before Putting a Customer On Hold” below.