No matter the business that you operate in, you’ve likely heard the term inbound call experience before. Simply put, this term refers to the interaction between a customer and your business on the phone, and how it impacts that customer’s perception of your business as well as the likelihood that they will purchase something from you in the future.
Why is inbound call experience is important?
When you provide your customers with an above-average phone experience you are more likely to retain them as customers and extract more value from them in the long run. This means recouping acquisition costs, turning customers into evangelists that refer new customers, serve as case studies and provide you with testimonials and reviews for later social validation.
Here are five ways to improve arguably the most important customer experience touchpoint; The phone.
1) Answer Calls Quickly
The hard truth… Customers hate being put on hold and will usually abandon their call if they have to wait too long. As a business, you need to be sure that you have enough operators available when inbound calls roll in and that there are good processes that ensure calls get answered quickly and by someone who can actually help the customer such as smart connect and call routing. You don’t want to keep customers waiting; you want them hanging up happy!
2) Speak Clearly
When customers call your business, they should be able to understand what you’re saying. A good way for businesses to ensure clarity is by using simple language and speaking at a rate that’s easy for customers to follow. Businesses should also consider the hardware their staff are using, is the sound clear in the speaker? Are the microphones picking up my voice? How much noise pollution is there around me being picked up by the mic? We use Jabra headsets and couldn't recommend them enough. Some other quick tips that can help you sound clearer include, slowing down your breathing. Breathing a little slower will help you speak a little slower which will help you enunciate your words more, this will ensure you’re speaking at a rate that’s not too fast for your customers to hear and can greatly reduce the chance of misinterpretation or misunderstanding.
3) Provide Helpful Information
This here is the thing that separates you from your competition. If there’s a sure-fire way to provide a shitty experience for the customer on the phone it’s going to be a lack of information and context. There is nothing worse than calling a business and they don’t know who you are? Where you’ve come from, are you a lead? Customer? Tools such as Enriched caller-id give you context on the caller before you’ve even answered the phone, so you can see if they're a customer, who they spoke to last, do they have any open tickets. This type of information can help you identify pain points before you’ve even said hello.
4) Listen Carefully
When a customer calls your business, don’t rush them off of the phone. Take time to listen carefully and ask open-ended questions so you can find out what they want from you—and more importantly, how you can help them. The call will likely take less time because your customer will feel that they’re being heard. That translates into better customer service and a positive call experience for everyone involved.
5) Be Friendly
The single biggest thing you can do to improve your customer’s experience is to be friendly. You have no idea how much your tone of voice and attitude come through on a phone call, so make sure they come across as upbeat and eager. It’s a little cliche but trust us it really works. And if you're having an absolute shocker of a day, a bonus trick you can try is to put a smile on your face while you talk. It will automatically make you sound chirpier even if you just need that third coffee and a bagel from downstairs.