When you pick up the phone and try to call a company, whether it’s to place an order or make a complaint, you want the phone to be picked up as quickly as possible. Nobody likes being put on hold, or to just listen to a phone ringing off the hook, which is why many companies have now set guidelines for how quickly their phones should be answered.
They ask staff to pick up within three or four rings, and then monitor the percentage of calls which meet this standard. If you’re struggling to meet your targets, then there are often solutions such as overflow call answering services, and here’s why you should think about setting a strict target.
You deal with less irate customers
If you’ve ever had to call and complain about something, then you’ll no doubt know that the longer you’re on hold, the more irate you become. Being able to speak to someone, even if it’s just to leave your details so an agent can call you back is infinitely better than listening to a recorded apology. That’s why many call centres set up an overflow call answering service, so if their own agents can’t pick up the call, then someone from their answering service will.
Customers will review your service levels online
If you look at online review sites, you’ll notice that many bad reviews are to do with poor customer service and communication. Being kept on hold for a long time will often leave to bad reviews, complaints on social media, or other things that could damage your reputation, which is why strict standards are so necessary nowadays.
You could be losing money
Companies in every sector face strict competition and the global recession has made it difficult for businesses of all sizes to survive. Unfortunately, gaps in your customer service can lose you money, and this could be because:
- Customers hang up and call competitors instead
- Cancelled subscriptions due to inadequate customer service
- Poor reviews putting off potential clients
- High staff turnover due to their job being more stressful
That’s why it’s important to have a back up such as a telephone answering service, as they will be a friendly voice on the other end of the line for your customers and can take the pressure off of staff.
You look unprofessional
When people call your team, they want the phone picked up quickly, and for the other person on the line to sound together and focused. If your staff are inundated with calls then they might not only take ages to answer the phone but they can also sound flustered and unprofessional, not exactly impressive to potential or current clients. Therefore, you may need to send some calls to overflow so that your staff can sound better on their calls.
It keeps your service efficient
If you have an issue that needs to be resolved, then you want to call up, describe the problem, and get a quick resolution. Long calls to customer service don’t do anyone any good and by setting targets such as setting the number of rings to answer the phone you can encourage staff to have shorter call times.
Most people hang up after three rings
Statistics show that seven out of ten callers will hang up if they don’t get through within three rings and you never know whether a call is going to be an order, a complaint or an enquiry. Therefore, every dropped call can be a missed opportunity, and it’s why you need to be on the ball when it comes to answering the phone.
People don’t have a high tolerance for being on hold either, and studies have shown that 13 minutes is the absolute maximum for being kept on hold (patience will be tested at the 8 minute mark). At this point, your customers will simply give up, and you’ve lost the chance to resolve their complaints, so hold times should be kept to a minimum too.
You can streamline the process
Customer service is at its best when its kept simple, and therefore a quick pickup of the phone and quick turnaround is what people want. By setting targets for staff, you can be sure that your customer service process is short and streamlined, making it easier to keep customers happy.
You can motivate your staff
Motivating and rewarding staff is so important, and by having statistics such as the number of rings it takes to answer the phone, you can see how their progress is coming along. The time taken to answer the phone is often an indication of enthusiasm and how well the customer is being served, which is why it’s such an important statistic to keep track of. You could motivate staff by:
- Giving bonuses for reaching targets
- Keeping track of improvements
- Having contests between staff members
- Having a board with the team’s statistics on display
This makes it easy to get the results you want and to keep an eye on how staff are performing and thus improve your service over time.
It’s what your customers deserve
Both loyal and new customers deserve the best of service, and it’s best to think about what you’d want from a company and then deliver that to your customers. When you call someone, you want them to pick up right away, and your customers will feel the same.
It’s important to have targets when dealing with customers, whether it’s just a few people on your team or a major call centre, and therefore you should set yourself and your staff a realistic target. However, it can be tough to meet these targets at first, which is when overflow call answering services come in.