With all the discussion of messaging apps, chatbots, and live chat, your company may think that the voice channel is a thing of the past. In reality, while digital channels are used most prominently in today’s customer service, many people still call brands when they need assistance. As many studies have shown, digital channels are favored only when they work seamlessly. If a self-service channel fails to work, for example, the customer is likely to pick up the phone for further support. A Google study found that 59% of respondents prefer to call a business rather than make contact online with the hope of getting a quick answer. Furthermore, 57% simply wish to talk to a real person. As your company optimizes its omnichannel strategy, be sure to follow these six tips for satisfying your customers on the voice channel.
Choose agents with strong interpersonal skills
Agents may be trained to work on multiple channels, but the voice channel demands a particular need for strong interpersonal skills. Choose agents with good conversation skills who are able to convey key emotions such as confidence and empathy. These agents should be able to handle pauses comfortably, reassure upset customers, and demonstrate a proactive attitude. When a frustrated customer calls your company, an agent’s communication ability is critical to winning the customer’s trust.
Make sure agents exchange contact information
Disconnected calls are frustrating for every customer, but sometimes they cannot be avoided. For this reason, agents should always exchange contact information right at the beginning. At the start of a conversation, the agent should always introduce himself, ask for the customer’s name, provide his own extension number, and ask for the customer’s number.
Don’t force customers to be placed on hold
Customers don’t want their time wasted. Rather than placing them on hold, give them the option of a callback. When the customer’s position arrives at the front of the queue, he may be called back at a convenient time.
Use an optimized IVR menu
Customers can receive faster responses with the help of an IVR menu. Such menus allow users to quickly bypass the options they don’t need and reach the most qualified agent. Visual IVR menus in particular save customers time by allowing them to tap through visual interfaces. Test your system regularly to make sure that customers are properly routed. In addition, consider adding menu options for current brand issues or events that customers might be contacting you about.
Don’t make customers repeat information
Many customers avoid calling brands for this reason alone. A CRM solution can help organize customer data in one place and keep it updated in real time, preventing need for repetition. If a customer needs to be transferred to another department at some point, the transition can be made seamlessly. In addition, an agent should be attentive and take notes on the customer’s case in order to keep other colleagues informed.
Give a quality experience
Many companies worry about reducing average handling time in order to cut costs. While the voice channel is expensive, remember that multiple calls with the same customer—as well as customer attrition—cost companies much more. Focus on providing a quality experience every time with an emphasis on first contact resolution. Taking the time to truly solve a problem will satisfy your customers and save everyone time and money in the end. In addition, be sure to send a post-contact survey to the customer at the end of the call. You can only offer great service when you know what your customers expect from you.
Digital customer service is here to stay, but no channel offers a human touch more than voice. Rather than prioritizing your digital channels, optimize your overall omnichannel approach and give your customers the most modern voice channel experience possible. To deliver the very best in customer service, learn about Vocalcom, a global leader in cloud-based contact center software solutions and premium omnichannel customer interaction platform for great customer experiences.
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