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Customer Service Hell ls Spelled…IVR!

You have just entered Customer Service Hell. It’s the phone call looped through a frustrating automated system known as IVR (Interactive Voice Response)-you know, the one where you “Press 1 to continue in English” and “Listen closely to our list of options, as they may have changed.” Or, “Please call back during our normal working hours.”

 

Calling for help.

While automated phone attendants sound great for the business that’s set one up, it’s not ideal for a customer that just wants to speak to someone about a question, concern, scheduling of an appointment, or simply to learn about your services.

It feels impersonal and makes customers think that you just don’t have time to deal with their phone calls. Don’t magnify the problem by creating a situation that wasn’t so bad to begin with by having technology in charge of your customer’s first impression. Having a human answering the phone with a friendly voice helps to handle issues quickly and professionally.

What happens when you keep an automated voice on the  other end? You’re going to end up costing yourself sales. There is no longer a welcoming voice that is eager to get a situation resolved and the call handled promptly; it’s the same generic greeting, complicated menu to  follow, and a frustrated caller deciding it’s not worth the  trouble.

Telephone… the Virtual front door to your business. There is no substitute for a friendly human voice, who answers the call promptly and appropriately. When someone calls your business, they want answers and incidentally, they may also want to purchase your product or service.The fact is, as customers don’t run on the same time schedule as your business, you need to make every effort to have their concerns take care of according to their schedule, nor  yours.

You have just entered Customer Service Hell. It’s the phone call looped through a frustrating automated system known as IVR (Interactive Voice Response)-you know, the one where you “Press 1 to continue in English” and “Listen closely to our list of options, as they may have changed.” Or, “Please call back during our normal working hours.”

Very few companies have 24/7 live people answering their phones thereby limiting their ability to attract new customers and keep old ones. Very few companies realize that the power of a live person an­ swearing the phone still matters! The following companies do:

Metro Bank in London has 24/7 live customer service representa­tives. (44 20 3402 8312).

LL Bean has 24/7 live customer service representatives (888-731- 3170).

Stew Leonard Grocery stores has live customer service representa­tives during their open hours from 7am – 11 pm (203-847-7214).

Apple is an anomaly; you are connected with an IVR for a very short period of rime. They answer the phone quickly and your telephone number alerts them who is calling and then they answer with, “Good

Morning John, which of your apple produces are you calling about?” After which, you are connected to a live person.  (800-676-2775).

How to Win customers… talk to them. A phone greeter is the first impression of the company, the person that is going to answer general questions chat may make an “interested” customer turn into a “sold” customer, and the person that verifies details to make sure the customer gets their appointment scheduled or transferred to the person in the company chat can help them best. I think businesses should treat the person that answers the phone as a part of the sales team.

An automated voice is such a deterrent that some customers won’t wait to go through the prompts or listen all of the way through until they know which number to hit; they may simply hang up after feeling like they are just another number.

A welcoming voice, on the other hand, can make a person feel good, reflect well on the company, and make it easier for a solution to be made to the reason behind their call. Companies that  treat  their phone greeter like a sales person may notice chat taking the position seriously is a great way to boost sales and get prospective customers to do business with you.

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

Get everybody customer-driven so that if somebody walks into your business through the phone line, the Internet, or in person, the experi­ence is “Awesome.” Your customers will feel much more important when they are handled by a human rather than an automated operator. “Mm have a better chance at offering a superior Level of service when a live person can help someone promptly and in a .friendly way.” -John Tschohl SSE

   

John Tschohl is an international service strategist and speaker. He is Founder and President of th< SDescribed by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a customer service guru, he has written seven books on customer service.

Visit www.johntschohl.com
Connect Jolin T’OChohl
Follow @johntschohl

 

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