When customers call a company, they deserve the best treatment. However,
many organizations continue to abuse their customers with poorly thought out
phone handling. The guilty companies range for the largest to the smallest.
The reality is, most companies do not want the calls. Their desire is for the
customer to check the website first, to engage in live chat
or communicate via social media. Most customers have tried one of those
options and as a last resort pick up the phone. So when the experience is
daunting or down right rude, customers get even more frustrated.
It is time to do a review of what customers go through when calling your
company. I recommend a small team, including a director level person,
to check your roadblocks and make the needed changes.
Here’s where to get started –
1. Act as if you are the customer. Listen closely and experience the call
process. I know you have done this before – do it again.
2. Get rid of the instructions that inform the customer, “Listen carefully
as our menu has changed.” Most of your customers do not call you
often enough to have the menu memorized. We don’t know or care
that it has changed. Just give us the choices, the fewer the better.
Also, give us the one chosen most frequently upfront, like press 1 not 6.
For example, physician’s office are the worst offender of this one –
“to make an appointment press 5”. I don’t think pharmacies call more
often than patients yet that option is always stated before the patient
3. Stop telling the customer, “Your call is very important to us, the next
available representative will be with you soon.” Say it once. The more
you repeat the same script the more it angers the customer and they
will not believe you. Change up the recording – some script, some music,
some information about products and services. And please don’t tell the
customer to go to the website, it is very likely they’ve tried it already and
may even be on it while having to listen to the recording, angrily.
4. Listen to the customer representative scripts. Is it time to let the team
be more respectful and engaging? Customers are exhausted with the
programmed scripts. They do not create a real conversation. The
customer called to speak to a real live person – not one with a script
and limited options. Remember the customer thinks their situation is
unique, so listen well and engage them.
Customers will love you when you hire smarter, train better and coach often.
Your team will love working for you and in an empowered environment.
You will get loyalty from customers and employees. Your phone handling
is part of the customer experience. If the customer has to call you, give them
what they deserve – easy to access real people with real answers.