Customer Service in the Age of Instant Gratification

Three ways you can answer the call of customers, no matter where you are or what you are doing. 

September/October 2016

Speed often makes the difference between just acceptable and exceptional customer service. Digital conveniences, such as email, text messaging and social messaging, have trained customers to expect instant gratification.

Randi Busse, Customer Service Trainer and President of Workforce Development Group, Inc., explains that seamless communication is important, and if you or your employees are not accessible via multiple communication channels — phone, email, text, etc., —current customers will grow agitated, and prospective customers will look elsewhere.

While self-service options, such as online chats, forms and FAQs, are becoming increasingly popular, the phone is still the communication channel people default to when a problem can’t be resolved via any other channel. That person-to-person interaction will always be critical to resolving complex issues or answering complex questions.

Simplify your connection to customers

When running your business, you aren’t tied to a desk — and neither are your employees. Whether you are an attorney attending a legal conference or a home remodeler making an in-person visit, chances are that potential business and revenue are being lost if customers and prospects can’t reach you.

While you can provide customers with several points of contact, giving them one number is easiest for them. Busse encourages business owners to utilize phone options like forwarding business calls to cell phones. While these options may not always be convenient for you, Busse explains, “We have to meet our customer where they are, using their preferred method of communication rather than our own.”

3 ways to close the communication gap

Phone mobility features can help you and your employees stay in touch with customers, and potential customers, while out of the office. Here are three ways that business phone mobility features keep you connected:

1. According to the research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, 41% of consumers report that their biggest frustration with customer service is being put on hold. Sequential ring, which will ring up to five phones in a pre-programmed sequence, can connect that customer to a live person. Even if the issue can’t be immediately resolved by you or your employees, the customer will feel there is an actual person at your business working on the problem.

2. The chances of a customer or prospect answering a call from an unknown number are pretty slim. When you and your employees are working remotely, the Office Anywhere feature shows the business’ phone number even when calling from a mobile or other personal phone. The feature allows the Caller ID for outgoing calls from a personal phone to reflect the business phone number.

3. Because customers typically prefer options, a “personal attendant” phone feature is an automation option that offers callers up to three choices, such as: go to voicemail, talk to another person, or hear an announcement — for hours and directions, as an example.

Nagesh Tata, Director of Product Management, Charter Communications, explains that features such as these help businesses match customers’ expectations — which is for their communications to be in real time and reaching who they want, when they want.

“The nature of communications really hasn’t changed, as this still involves one person trying to conduct a business transaction,” says Tata. “However, the expectations have changed in the sense that people expect to be able to initiate calls or receive calls across a variety of types — phone calls, emails, texts — partly driven by the sophisticated devices used today."  

 

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Did You Know?

According to the research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, 41% of consumers report that their biggest frustration with customer service is being put on hold. Learn More >