Customer Experience continues to influence everything from market presence and brand reputation, to customer loyalty and sales revenue. It’s never been more important. Customers have greater choices (and voices) than ever before, thus making customer experience missteps for brands particularly treacherous.
Customer Experience is defined as “The product of interactions between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship” (Wikipedia). This means it includes all associated product messaging, sales exposure, web presence, in-person interactions, and certainly last but by no mean least – phone calls (aka “the caller experience”).
Below, we discuss how this interaction point can frequently be a customer experience blind spot for businesses. This is where callers begin forming their initial brand impressions, and if you’re not doing it right, then it can be costing you in lost potential revenues and wasted ad spend – two sentences no business wants to hear!
Different Phases Of the Caller Experience.
This isn’t 1950 any more, and having a live person answer incoming calls is virtually a thing of the past. Instead, consumers begin their first phase of the “caller experience” (and brand impression) by being greeted by your phone system’s automated attendant recordings. Some some companies get this step right, and create a positive brand impression, however most do not get it right, and as a result, end up frustrating callers by having them try to navigate a never ending, complex laundry list of menu options – not exactly a great way to start out when it comes to an initial brand impression!
Now if it isn’t bad enough having trying to navigate the auto attendant, or having to scream “agent or representative” into the phone repeatedly, but now comes phase two. What is it? Well, if you’ve ever called a business, whether it’s your bank or beauty salon, we all dread hearing those two words – “please hold.”
Ugh! On hold purgatory. We know what to expect next – waiting endlessly in dead-silence, or having tinny, cheesy sounding elevator music forced down our throat! And, as the seconds mount so does the frustration level for callers until the rubber meets the road as they say and boom – the caller hangs up (caller abandonment) which can be a very costly endeavor.
The final phase of the caller experience is the direct interaction of staff members with callers. They should be taught proper phone etiquette, be polite, listen to the callers questions or concerns and always treat callers with the utmost respect. If you’re not doing this part right, then you probably don’t need to worry about the other phases as you likely won’t have any customers to serve.
Remove the Blinders.
Now as you read on, we’ll give you top advice on the best strategy and solution for creating a winning caller experience. But before we do, let’s talk about removing the blinders. Whether due to click-to-call advertising, or even the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are experience a massive surge of inbound calls. However, some businesses still want to believe that – “they don’t place callers on hold, or they don’t keep callers on hold for very long”. This is a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Here are some hard stats about on hold experiences:
- AT&T reports 7 out of every 10 calls are placed on hold.
- the average hold time at a business is over 1 minute.
- Over 60% of callers will hang up in less than 40 seconds and call a competitor when waiting silence or music.
- 40% of callers who hang up, won’t call back.
- Research estimates caller abandonment accounts for as much as 40% in lost potential revenues each year.
What’s the Solution?
Since most brands overlook the telephone customer touchpoint, we’re here to help inform you on the solution to fill in the blind is, which is: custom branded, professionally produced auto attendant recordings, and creative, powerful on hold messages.
Let’s face it having your phone tech, or an employee be the voice of your brand may not exactly be the best idea. Instead, professional auto attendant recordings greet callers with a warm and welcoming voice, reassure confidence to callers and create a positive first impressions.
Now what about the caller on hold experience? Well as they say the proof is in the pudding. And, when it comes to on hold messaging, take a bite out of these statistics:
- callers will remain on hold up to 3 minutes longer than other on hold alternatives
- Jefferson Denneandrus, a top research firm, found when callers were presented with on hold messages, they were more likely to exhibit interest in the product advertised, they were more likely to retain information, and they were less agitated.
Numbers don’t lie, and as we’ve noted above, overlooking or providing a poor telephone caller experience can have devastating negative impacts to your brand and bottom line, while when you include two critical elements such custom auto attendant recordings, and professional on hold messaging — you’re assured of providing an excellent caller experience that creates brand loyalty, increases revenues sets your brand apart from the competition.