01-Feb-2011 09:32

Are clients p***d off when they phone your office?

I have been involved in the telecoms industry for about 20 years & I have probably attended hundreds of client meetings, advised on the installation of thousands of new lines and telephone-systems for our clients and helped provide other diverse telecoms solutions to many satisfied clients…

However, I remain constantly astonished by some of the rather elementary but so easily corrected gaffes companies still make with their business phone-systems & customer services.

It seems to me that many companies appear to harbour a death-wish! Why do so many companies seem to want to alienate clients & why do so many businesses work so diligently to upset their clientele?

Yep - I refer to good old fashioned 'Customer Services' and in particular to 'Telephone System Answering' services - commonly also known as 'Auto-Attendant Telephone System Services'.

How many of us have called a company and got through to an Automated-Attendant message that either sadly seems to go nowhere; or an Auto-Attendant greeting that apparently goes everywhere!

Please bear with me and allow me to address just a few of the most common problems:

1. Auto-Attendant message services that go nowhere:
A call to your main company telephone number (cli) is answered by an 'automated-attendant message' that prompts specific menu options, which when pressed, don't actually go anywhere, or even worse, go straight to voice mail. i.e. Press "1" for customer service and your call - after a while - goes dead or Press "1" for customer services and your call simply rings and rings & rings and…

2. Auto-Attendant message services that go everywhere:
Yikes! Don't we all just hate calling some companies, particularly the larger organisations. How many of us feel that we've reached voice-mail hell! Menu options, menu options, menu options, followed by more menu options… and then often returning to the original greeting again.

3. Automated-Attendant answer-messages that sound as if they were recorded by your grandmother. I truly loved my grandmother. I thought she was wonderful. But, I really would not have asked her to record my answer-service messages.

To so many businesses recording a lucid, clear and comprehensive message seems to be a total afterthought.

Remember - that first recorded message 'is' your company's image. Why not make that initial impression a more professional & memorable one..?

4. Press ''prompt?' to speak to…' :
When your caller presses ''prompt?' to speak to…' please remember that they must always, always, always, always actually connect & speak to a living person... Oh, and try not to make it toooo difficult to actually reach that live, breathing customer-service staff member.

5. Hold Times Actually Do Matter :
No. It is not okay or fair to expect clients to wait 'on hold' for five, ten or fifteen minutes. Remember, unless they're calling HMRC, the NHS or they hold a winning Lotto ticket; people probably will not hang around. And if they do wait 'on hold', they will be pretty p****d off with your company!

6. Nasty muzak or a 'beep-beep' tone when placed 'on hold' :
Try this one for yourselves. Go ahead & phone your own company & ask someone to place you 'on hold'. What do you hear?
Do you hear a nasty 'beep-beep-beep' sound, tedious music or perhaps a link to a boring radio station?
Fix it! These days, almost every decent telephone-system has a music-on-hold port. Why not invest in a decent CD player & play some light rock, jazz…

See, that wasn't too difficult? Isn't that so much more customer-friendly?

I can think of many more examples, but I'm presuming you get the gist of my post..

In 2011, trade may be tough but why not make it a touch easier & stand out from your competition.

Norman F.

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Contributed by SimplyFone Blogger on 01-Feb-2011 13:44
Nice Steve - that got me chuckling..
Contributed by Steve Hall on 01-Feb-2011 13:43
The ultimate irony is Spain´s national disgrace of a telecom company (Telefónica) who have Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive" on hold. "Survive"? You need the survival instincts of a Scott or an Amundsen to listen to 23 minutes of her dulcid tones. After the seventeenth time of hearing "First I was afraid, I was petrified" you start inventing alternative words, "First I was amazed, I ate cold pork pies" etc ...however unlikely that gastronomic treat would be to Norman or Steve!

This is the same company that can "attack" their poor, beleaguered customers with incessant telesales calls from aggressive, commissioned telecan agents offering their over-priced services using obscene confusion marketing tactics. (...some even having a passing knowledge of Castillian Spanish) On the other hand trying to get through to find why they have taken a DD on a cancelled line or billed you for a service that is incompatible with your service (RDSI and ADSL commonly) needs the patience of Laurence and the wisdom of Norman.

Great blog, young sir!

Kind Regards

Steve Hall

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