Your business may be unknowingly driving away customers – even when you’re doing everything right! An outdated business phone system can undermine a business’s customer service efforts. As far as customer service goes, handling calls with an old office phone system sends some strong negative signals about how you value their time and business.
Here’s how that old phone setup makes your customers feel… less than appreciated.
- Landlines Preventing Callers from Reaching You.
You can’t provide a great customer experience if customers can’t reach you – in fact, just the opposite: customers value person-to-person interaction when problem-solving, and the inability to reach an employee is a big hit to reputation. What’s more, about 80 percent of customers don’t leave voicemails – chances are, if you missed someone, you’ve lost them.
Busy tones are a classic warning sign of poor customer service. Not only do they bar customers from speaking with a rep, but they also provide the caller no further information or solutions, forcing them to hang up and “try again later.” Who has time to call twice, honestly?
What if we almost always have enough phone lines? How can we account for occasional call overflow without paying for extra lines we hardly ever need?
Fortunately, this is a common question with an easy fix. Burstable SIP VoIP trunks enable businesses to surpass their user subscription when they have more calls than lines available. This way, customers never feel stuck with a busy signal and businesses aren’t forced to pay a monthly subscription for something they seldom need.
Okay, what about when I need to step away from my landline phone? So few of my customers leave messages!
That has to be frustrating, and frustrated customers make the perfect ingredients for bad reviews…
VoIP PBX systems help keep employees available for customer service even when they go off-site: smartphone and laptop VoIP/forwarding apps let employees take their work number with them wherever they go. And for those times when they are unavailable, call forwarding configurations are easier than ever to set and change; employees can send incoming calls to a coworker while on vacation, in meetings or traveling, and start taking calls again as soon as they’re ready. Easier for the employee means better service for the customer.
- Landlines Waste Customer Time.
Most customers won’t wait on hold for more than a minute. So, when planning for call volume, there isn’t a lot of room for error. Managers using landline systems without detailed reporting tools, however, are left guessing at optimal employee and call distribution. This puts the company at constant risk of call overload, missed calls and plummeting customer opinion.
Business VoIP can report on average call duration by employee or department, call frequency by time of day or topic, employee availability and more. Use them to hone in on optimal call distribution and ensure employees are always available to take calls.
VoIP systems can also integrate with a business’s CRM, supplying employees with the caller information they need to reach a quick solution. Automatic access to call history, purchase records, account information and more allows employees to bypass repetitive questions that prolong calls and annoy customers.
- The Old System Can’t Connect Callers with the Right People.
When was the last time you punched the zero button over and over while listening to an automated menu – or worse, hung up out of frustration? We’ve all been there – and we all hope never to send our customers there.
Why does it happen? What gets us screaming that exasperated chant of “agent, agent, agent” into the phone? We want a quick answer and instead waste time.
The first defense against phone purgatory? A well-configured IVR menu.
Customers calling to make a payment don’t want to hear your store’s address, and people calling about service costs don’t need to know how to make an appointment on your website – so don’t tell them.
An IVR menu’s goal should be to get customers to the right representative as quickly as possible. Introductions should be short and sweet (leave store hours and self-service information as menu options) and should present the caller with relevant and helpful choices.
Consider the most common reasons customers call your business and format the menu to address those concerns with specific departments; if prospects often call to ask product or service questions, for instance, make the sales department a main IVR menu option. This prevents unnecessary transfers and wait times that can quickly put a damper on a caller’s mood.
Note that IVRs are much easier to configure and change on a virtual PBX system than on a landline. Dynamic businesses that expect future department, personnel or setup changes should consider switching to a flexible, VoIP-powered phone system.
Improving Customer Service with a Hosted PBX
Don’t let all the hard work you’ve put into developing your customer service fall by the wayside. What with aging technology, limited capabilities and rigid configurations, your outdated phone system may be weighing down your efforts. To learn more about how a cloud PBX could transform your customer service center, download our infographic on the top ten benefits of 4Voice’s business VoIP solutions.