Your small business is already an excellent call center. Here’s why: most or all of your staff deal directly with the customer. And so do you. Take Suarez for instance. He runs a Home Carpet Cleaning service with almost 4o staff members. But he often makes himself personally available to his customers.
And, small business staff don’t just interact more personally with the customer; they also know their product or service more intimately:
- Take Susan, she not only answers calls, but is also one of the hair stylists at a local salon. Her experience really helps her calm those irate customers who may call in to rant about yesterday’s haircut.
- Or consider Simon, who was running late on his deliveries. He called in the customer in advance, apologized and told her exactly when he would deliver her package.
With a smaller chain of command, small businesses are quicker, more personal and just better at responding.
So it’s not surprising when American Express Global Customer Service Barometer reports that 81% of consumers think small businesses deliver better service than big businesses do.
The question is: As smaller players, is there anything then we can really need to learn from the big guys? Turns out, there are 6. Presenting (drumroll)..
The 6 contact center advantages to amp up your customer service edge:
- Answer every call. When everyone is too busy to answer, you lose important business.
- A basic IVR can greet your customers and divert them to voice mail.
- A good customer interactions package to queue the call, manage how your staff answers calls better
- Recordings. Record the caller’s number so you can call back.
Remember new customers rarely call back, so get yourself a contact center package with all these features before planning your ad campaign or giving off your number.
- Add more agents. Reduce hold times. Having new customers greeted by a “busy” tone can be damaging. A Google survey pegged 33.3% of customers unwilling to wait even a minute on hold. But with less dedicated agents, small businesses generally have longer hold times.
- More staff answering calls. Counter longer hold times by simply increasing the number of staff who answer calls. Since a lot of your staff interacts daily with your customer, they’re quite qualified to answer calls. With smart cloud PBX or Cloud contact center tools, you can have everyone access the calls without increasing your phone lines. They simply login and answer calls over the system using a headset.
- Unlimited agents. Go for plans that don’t charge per agent. These plans are the most economical way of increasing staff who answer and subsequently reducing calls hold times.
- Use recordings to train, train, train. Ensure that your staff interact with your customer the way you would. Call Recordings is an invaluable feature of many contact center solutions. Use call recordings to train your staff. Great recordings can motivate all your staff. While the awry interactions can corrected one-to-one.
- Stay in the loop. As your business grows, you can’t possibly be there to answer all the calls. Train your staff well, but stay in the loop at all times. Subscribe to contact center applications that let you login and know customer mood and staff performance immediately.
- Don’t let customer knowledge walk out. Customer knowledge, and those great interactions often threaten to walk out of the door when your staff leaves. Zero turnover isn’t possible. So safeguard your customer knowledge though an organized CRM database that all your agents can access and update. So your regular customers gets the customer care they deserve no matter who answers their call.
- Take your customer support online. 57% of online customers prefer live chat for support. Use your staff’s expertise in customer care to capture this online audience. Add live chat to your website, webpage or Facebook page . 10-50% of your online audience will now start engaging with you. Try to get live chat integrated with your phone/cloud PBX/contact center solution, so the same staff who answer calls can also mange your online audience.Now with browser based applications, these contact center tools are more easily available to small businesses than ever before. Available as monthly subscriptions, your small business can easily try these tools without making any hardware or infrastructure changes. There are many options available. Look for options built especially for small businesses. These will generally be both affordable and easy to use. So you don’t need to waste time and effort on training.
Start looking now. Take the expertise that you and all your staff have in delivering stellar customer service— up to the next level.