The phone still rules when it comes to complex customer service questions and problems. In fact, 46% of customers prefer to get support on complicated issues via phone.
Yet contact centers often play to metrics that emphasize getting customers off the phone as quickly as possible. While 78% of customer service professionals are tracking at least one performance metric, if that metric is all about shortening calls, maybe it’s the wrong one.
Wondering if that’s actually the case? Here are three reasons both your business and your customers can benefit from longer calls.
Image: Glance Networks
Create an Atmosphere of Respect
Sadly, 62% of customers have to repeatedly contact a company to resolve an issue, often because agents are too quick to push customers off of the phone. That’s bad news for customers and businesses.
If your customers went out of the way to call your company, they genuinely need help. Never talk down to customers, act impatient, or tell them there’s nothing that can be done. Emphasize to your agents that they need to take the time to ensure that your customers are listened to and understood.
While not every question can be resolved immediately, many can. The key is truly listening to what customers have to say and making your best effort to close out the conversation in a matter that’s satisfactory to both parties.
Allow your customers to feel less like an irritation that needs to be brushed off and more like someone you respect and who you want to continue to be your customer. Additionally, let your agents take the time to answer questions so they can end calls on a positive note, reducing stress all around.
Add Teaching Moments
When customers are confused about a process, they feel frustrated and powerless. Therefore, there is often an urge on the business side to want to solve the problem as quickly as possible. This frequently involves having agents do the work.
It may take a little longer to show customers how to solve the issue themselves. However, the payoff is that customers feel empowered. In fact, giving quick tutorials before completing customer interactions lowers churn by 6%.
Another benefit is that customers are less likely to call back with the same problem later, as they can now solve it themselves. Remember that old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever”? Here’s the perfect application.
Take, for example, a question about paying a bill. If an agent takes customers’ information and completes the steps to pay their bills, those same customers will likely call back again the next month with the same issue. Guide them through the steps to pay the bill themselves and not only will they feel empowered, but they will have no reason to ask the question again.
Transform Customer Service Calls Into Sales
Who wouldn’t like to change an angry customer into a happy one who might even want to buy more?
An added benefit of spending more time with your customers is that it opens up the possibility of an upsell. An agent who takes a little extra time with customers has had the opportunity to make a deeper connection and gain insight into their needs. With happy customers on the line, agents can now offer them additional relevant purchases that may fit their needs.
Take a Long-term, Customer-Centric View
Getting customers off the phone quickly can provide short-term savings to an organization. However, when your agents spend a little extra time with your customers, you will gain longer term benefits: improved customer satisfaction, stronger customer loyalty, positive feedback on review sites, fewer call-backs, and more opportunities to improve the bottom line.