October 31, 2018
By Blake Morgan
When it comes to connecting to customers, many companies focus on methods like social media, chatbots and email. While those are effective ways to solve customer problems, its important to not forget the old customer service standby: the phone.
If you think of your business like a house, the 1-800 number is the front door. In many cases, its a customers first impression of your company. Walking through the front door allows customers to get inside the company. Their experience from the moment the phone starts to ring has a huge impact on how they view your company. Do they have to wait on hold for a long time? Is it confusing to navigate to talk to the right person? Are customer service agents polite and responsive?
As technology develops, too many companies are deserting their 1-800 numbers, and thats not a wise choice. Think about how we naturally want to talk to our friends. When something big happens, we crave that human connection by talking to someone instead of simply sending an email or text. The same is true with your customers. They want to be able to talk to a real human and share an experience with them.
A large part of making the most of your 1-800 number is ensuring that contact center agents are informed and prepared to handle calls. Each call is a chance to market the company and build a relationship. Employees should be trained well but also have the freedom to go off script to answer customers questions and solve their problems. A Zappos employee famously had a 10-hour phone conversation with a customer. You can bet that person is now a loyal Zappos customer for life. But what if the employee had been forced to stick to the script and couldnt give the customer what they needed?
A phone conversation should be pleasant and helpful. The contact center plays a huge role in the overall customer experience and is great for marketing and relationship-building. Many companies, including Amazon, require employees from all areas of the company to spend time in the contact center so they can understand what it takes to talk to customers all day. It shows how important phone interaction really is.
Technology is powerful for customer experience, but true relationships are built over the phone. Dont forget about your 1-800 number. Remember to keep the front door of your business clean, shiny and open for everyone.
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