In my efforts to teach others to bring a better experience to customers in the buying experience, I often discuss the greetings and messages that we have on our voice mails and call waiting systems. It doesn’t matter what system we use, there is no replacement for person to person contact and the ability of a customer to interact with a real, live customer service representative.
There is a need for customers to be able to call businesses to discuss problems, ordering, and any other interface question. Businesses must understand that customers have such needs from time to time, and it is more frequent if the business doesn’t practice great customer service in everyday situations. If I spend money to purchase a product or service from anyone, I expect that business to have the ability for me to call them on the telephone and discuss any problems that I may have.
If you practice Gratitude Marketing you will have the means for customers with problems to contact you. You will staff your call answering facility with enough trained and polite representatives to answer customer questions, resolve problems, and assist callers with solutions to their problems. Reading from marketing scripts does not help the customer who wants to cancel their order or service. Making it difficult for customers to do, or stop doing, business with you will bring you a bad reputation and will lose you business.
Let’s discuss the “automated” systems that most businesses have now. First, they must be user friendly. They must allow the caller to press a button and access a real, live representative without going through multi levels of questions, most of which may not apply. By the way, no business that I know that has tried voice recognition systems in lieu of allowing a customer to press their phone’s buttons has continued to do so solely as a manner of interface.
Second, there must be a choice for all the other problems that a customer may experience. Just a given set of choices that may not address the situation at hand is not enough. Always have a choice for the customer to access a live representative. Automated messages such as “Your call is very important to us” are an insult to the person who is on hold for over 5 minutes. If my call was important, you would have answered by now.
The announcement that “We are experiencing an unusually large call volume” is a lie if it is always heard every time anyone calls your business. Again, this is an insulting message that tells me that you don’t care about your customers. The same is true when anyone on hold is bombarded by messages asking them to upgrade the service when they just want a problem solved.
Trained customer service representatives who have the power to solve problems are so much better than the ones who only can follow a script. If they cannot resolve a problem, access to a supervisor or manager must be available. Gratitude Marketing means that if you accept my payment your business has the ability to resolve problems in a manner that is easy for me, the customer. If you cannot, you should get out of business now for you will be unsuccessful in the future because your reputation will be your downfall.