Making Sure Your Phone System Enhances Your Client Experience
When you run a business, or any part of a business, you know that your customers are your most important asset. You also know that every choice you make is either a plus or minus for your customers. Every decision makes you more or less likely to gain and retain customers. So one way to think about whether or not to upgrade or buy a piece of equipment is, “Will it add or subtract from my customer experience, and therefore, my customer base?” No where is that more true than with your communications choices.
The telephone is a tool most businesses use everyday. It’s also one we tend to not think about until something goes wrong. And when something goes wrong, the telephone tends to move to the top of the priority list.
Communications is by definition how we talk to our clients. It’s the bridge to the world from our business. We want that bridge to be stable, not shaky. And ideally, we want the experience of talking on the phone to increase the likelihood that a client will choose to begin or continue doing business with you. So how do you do that?
The first thing you can do to make sure that the telephone experience is positive is to make sure your equipment and lines are reliable and of good sound quality.
If your customers can’t call you, they’re not having a good experience. There are a lot of factors that go into the reliability of telephones – both with lines and the telephone system. If you don’t have a good provider of phone lines or SIP trunks or if your internet connection that your SIP trunks travel over is sub par, you may missing calls and alienating customers.
If you have found a good service provider, the potential line problems aren’t over though. You need to make sure you have enough lines to support your phone traffic. For most businesses 1 line for every 3 to 4 employees is adequate. For call centers, the ratio goes up quite a bit. The numbers I’ve given are a rule of thumb and needs vary by business.
Once your lines are under control you need to make sure your system is in good working order and that you have a reliable company available to fix any problems as they arise. For some companies, it makes sense to have back-up in place. This can be through a fail-over number that calls go to if your main line is down or through an entire fail-over system that seamlessly takes over in the event of equipment failure.
This is particularly important for businesses where most or all business is conducted via telephones and or where telephones are particularly mission critical to the functioning of the business.
Just because your calls are going through and being answered doesn’t mean the calls are of a high quality. Many factors influence the quality of your customers’ call experience from the sound of the call to the speed their call is answered. Some of these factors are directly influenced by your employees while others are based on services provided by third parties but regardless of what is giving your customer a good or bad feeling, in the end, it’s a reflection on you.
One of the major factors involved in measuring a call’s quality (even subconsciously) is sound quality. Is there delay on the call? Are there pops or static? Most customers will put up with a certain amount of sound issues if the problem is temporary. If it continues throughout a call though, patience can wear thin.
Worse than a sound interruption is volume issues. If a caller can’t hear you clearly or if you’re too loud, the call gets unpleasant or even uncommunicative quickly. Another factor that can add to that problem is background noise. You know what makes a person feel unimportant? The feeling that they are just one of many things currently going on in your office. We all know that businesses are trying to accomplish a lot but if it sounds like your not paying full attention during the moment your speaking to a customer, that customer may start to feel uncared for.
Of course we can’t always change the volume of what’s going on around us, particularly in an open office or call center environment. What you can do is invest in equipment that helps to cancel out sound interference. Most importantly, you can make sure that your line, SIP, and telephone equipment providers know what they’re doing and are willing to put in the work for you to make your business come off professionally.
Reliability and quality are just the bare bones basics for making sure your customers’ telephone experience doesn’t sour them on doing business with you. There is a lot you can do to enhance the experience for your customers and to make sure that your employees are doing all they can to make sure the customers’ service experience is excellent. Check out our next blog for features that enhance your customers’ user experience.