We’ve all been there. Your best employees are tied up on the phones answering customer questions, many of which could be solved by a simple trip to your online FAQ’s page. Because of the volume, customers have to wait to talk to you, and you have to spend more time and resources helping them, increasing frustration on both sides. Enter: a bad customer experience.
It’s no secret that reducing the time you spend on the phone will increase customer satisfaction and help you get more done. But what are the best ways to effectively reduce phone time? Here are three best practices that can help.
Reducing Call Time Improves the Customer Experience
It’s not just you. Your customers have lots to do, and they want to spend the least time on the phone with you as possible. When you can pick up immediately and solve their inquiries thoroughly and quickly, you provide the best possible experience for them.
When reducing call time, you want to maintain a customer-centric mindset. The main purpose of reducing call time should be to improve their experience. It’s not about getting rid of customer calls and inquiries–it’s about vetting them, getting to them more quickly, and handling questions more deftly. Reducing call time effectively centers around doing more with less and increasing your efficiency to the max.
Reducing Call Time Allows You to Get More Done
As good as call time reduction is for your customers, it’s great for you, too. Especially if you’re a smaller business that doesn’t have a support team solely dedicated to customer support.
Reducing call time frees up significant amounts of time and resources for businesses of any size, allowing your employees to do more of what they do best. They can help more customers in-store, optimize your entire customer journey, and start planning your next campaign, etc. Ultimately, they can increase your revenue by attending to things that need their attention most.
Reducing call time also gives you more control. You can decide, more intentionally, where you allocate your time and resources, increasing your capacity to strategize and optimize throughout your entire company the way you want to. Ultimately, it’s a way to reclaim ownership of your operational strategies and customer relationship management.
3 Best Practices for Reducing Time on the Phone
So, how do you do it? Here are three practices to help you get started.
1- Train Your Employees Thoroughly
One of the best ways to reduce time on the phone is to train your employees thoroughly. Why? The greater your staff’s experience and skill, the faster and better they can solve customer problems and answer customer inquiries.
Take the time to invest in training and empowering your staff to help customers more personally and efficiently. Make sure they have the tools and information they need to handle calls confidently and quickly in a consistent way. Consider having your employees practice helping customers in different scenarios and brainstorm as a group on how you can address a specific customer persona in the best possible manner. Because your business is unique, it’s critical to create time and space for your staff to share tips and experiences with one another in order to align and learn.
2- Invest in a CRM
A factor that significantly increases time on the phone is repetition. When your customers call multiple times and have to start from ground zero every time–explain where they’re from, what they do, what they’re using, and what their pain points are–you pour minutes down the drain.
Customer data should never be the hold-up, especially when there is such an easy technological solution. Keep up-to-date customer information in a CRM so that your employees have all the background information they need to effectively help the customer. This way, when someone calls, you don’t have to go through all of the same information collection–your employees will already be up to speed, not two steps behind, and ready to help the customer from where they’re at.
3- Use Call Deflection
Of course, the real game-changer in reducing time on the phone is effective call deflection. Your customers use a million and one channels to communicate with the people in their lives. Why not capitalize on that? To cater to the modern consumer, you need to give your customers additional communication channels so that they can contact you in the way that works best for them. Some of the top channels include live chat, softphones, and, of course, texting.
When it comes to implementing a live chat, you want one that will route customers immediately to the person that can best help them and deliver the most convenient, uninterrupted communication for your customer. Webchat is a text messaging solution that helps you effectively capture and manage leads more efficiently. With Webchat, conversations happen over text and can move from desktop to mobile and back again asynchronously. You meet your leads where they’re at–on their phones.
Webchat also connects your customers to you immediately and routes them to the specific team members who will be most likely able to help them. More importantly, customers feel like they’re talking to a real person who actually knows what they’re talking about–because they are.
These days you need to establish face-to-face rapport with video communication, get tasks done through instant messaging, and use collaboration features to efficiently work with someone in the far corner of the world. Local businesses at the forefront of modern communication are turning to softphones.
A softphone is a software system that allows you to call any telephone number and speak to the person on the other end through the internet. Because softphones can be accessed through your desktop, laptop, browser, or mobile application, they free up your employees to be able to work from anywhere. Used correctly, they can be the key to small business success, taking an old channel and turning it into a multi-faceted communication hub that will lead to high-quality customer experiences.
- Significantly cut down costs
- Allow remote flexibility
- Maintain privacy and data security
- Integrate with your CRM to create a single database
With 3.8 billion smartphone users across the planet and 95% of texts being opened within three minutes, it’s easy to see that text has taken over. Did you know that over 40% of consumers say they are likely to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate?
- Over 65% of consumers think texting makes working with a local business more convenient.
- Consumers are twice as likely (1.8x) to prefer texting over any other communication method.
You may notice that the majority of consumers still interact with businesses through channels such as phone call or email. That’s true. But it’s only because they think that’s how local businesses are set up to interact. Nearly 67% actually think being able to text businesses would increase convenience.
Think about it: if you’re still playing phone tag or emailing, but 98% of your customers check every text the same day you send it, there’s a huge opportunity to get ahead by text messaging that far surpasses the potential of almost any other medium. Adding messaging can be a huge boon to your customer experience strategy by saving you time and ramping up convenience.
Of course, if possible, you want to use a combination of all three of these channels, and more, to cater to the modern consumer. Utilizing other communication channels is the best way to get more done in less time. And it shows your customers that you prioritize them, too.
And that’s it.
As always, you want to keep collecting customer experience data to learn which channels are working, what your pain points are, and how you can improve. Pay careful attention to customer feedback and keep experimenting. With the right tools, you’ll be able to provide a winning positive customer experience. Every time.
Podium empowers over 100,000 local businesses to text their customers. Learn how Podium can give you the tools to deliver a modern customer experience by watching this demo.