Meeting Customer Expectations: 4 Phone System Features that Help

competitive advantages
by Ryan Alleman     Monday, June 25th, 2018.

Customer expectations have accelerated.

Meeting customer expectations, especially over the phone, has changed dramatically. You can blame technology for that. Increased access to mobile, cloud, social media, and artificial intelligence technologies has disrupted customer service across nearly every industry. It’s the on-demand, easy-access revolution that’s driven customer expectations sky-high. That’s why, when customer call your help line or call centers, they expect fast responses, an array of choices, and mobile-friendly interfaces.

How to meet customer expectations on the phone.

Challenges created by technology often require a technological solution. That’s the case when meeting elevated customer expectations.

First, start with the technology your customers rely on for communicating with you. Despite the changes in technology, research has shown that most customers still resort to phones when they need help (48 percent). The problem is that only 19 percent of customers are satisfied with the service they receive over the phone.

So how do you raise that percentage of customer satisfaction for your company? Here are four customer expectations you’ll need to meet when communicating by phone, and the voice features that will satisfy their expectations.

#1. More personalized interactions with company agents.

Customers have never liked it when they’re treated like a number instead of a person. They like it even less today. Over 65 percent of customers say they’re likelier to jump ship and find another company and product if they aren’t treated like a person.

How can your agents provide a more personalized experience? One way is to implement a business phone system that integrates with your other tools, like your customer relationship management (CRM) software. With integrations like these in place, a phone call from a customer will pull that customer’s record from your CRM’s database. The customer’s information then appears on your screen before you even answer the phone.

Using that information, well-trained agents can answer the call and address the customer by name. You’ll also have the customer’s data directly on-hand rather than keep your customer waiting while you hunt for it.

#2. More communications options besides the phone.

Telecommunication technology has expanded to the point where phones aren’t just phones any more. They’re maps, web browsers, TVs, and electronic libraries. They also provide access to other communication channels besides voice, including email, chat, social media, and video conferencing. Subsequently, some customers may prefer to use these other communication methods instead of their phone’s voice service. And they’ll expect your company to accommodate their preferences.

So your agents should be prepared to respond through chat, email, and online forums and your company should invest in a solution that unifies your communications onto one platform. Your website—particularly your support page—should also be mobile-friendly. Additionally, there should also be opportunities for customers to self-serve, including apps, online forums, or a ticketing service they can track.

#3. Easily reach the person you need with minimal (if any) transfers.

Customers hate getting transferred more than once. Transfers mean waiting on hold time after time. And there’s always the risk that the next person won’t be any more help than the one who just transferred you.

The root of this problem usually lies in the menu customers encounter when they first call. Let’s say they have a problem with their billing. But the menu only gives them options to dial one for sales, two for shipping, or three for support. Now let’s say your billing department is reachable under option two, where there’s a sub-menu that lists billing as an option. But the customer doesn’t know that, and so they guess, maybe selecting three. That’s where the runaround begins, one that could be easily avoided.

One source for this problem is that many companies are limited in their menu functions because of the phone system. Maybe the system limits the number of menus (or auto attendants) you can have, or how many sub-menus you can use. So it’s important to find a phone system that doesn’t place these limits on your service. That way, your customers can better navigate your phone options and reach the person they need on the first try.

#4. More accessible service hours.

Your customers’ problems don’t always occur during typical business hours. So your customers will inevitably expect your support to be available when their problem hits, not just during business hours. So how do you cover the non-business hours?

The answer is to implement a phone system that allows you to customize your call routing schedule. You can program custom schedules to direct calls to specific numbers, voicemail boxes, and auto attendants after business hours or during holidays. Setting up these schedules should be easy, usually through an online portal, and they can be updated in real-time if necessary.

Technology is critical to meeting customer expectations.

Having a phone system with the right features gives you a better chance at meeting your customers’ high expectations. But it’s not easy finding the right phone system with modern phone features without breaking the bank. For help on choosing a modern phone system that’s an asset instead of merely a utility, download our Buyer’s Guide.

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