What Are The Key Factors In Customer Service?

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Customer service is a term that tends to get thrown around quite a bit and it is at times ambiguous as to what it means exactly. It seems to refer more than just the manner in which a service provider deals with their customers, but also the systems and procedures that are in place to ensure the customers’ needs are met. It is without any doubt very important and can be a deciding factor in earning a returning customer.

But what specifically makes for great customer service? This article will go into a few of the characteristics and factors that can help a company deliver great customer service to their customers.

 

Take Responsibility For Mistakes

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It’s important to own your mistakes and in some cases possibly admit to wrongdoing to appease the client even when you feel you aren’t at fault. There is no better way to irk a customer than to make an error of some kind and then be stubborn and shift the blame onto them or someone else – this is the best way to get a bad reputation. Even if the mistake isn’t your own, if the customer feels that it is, you’re better off making up for it, showing that you’re sorry and offering something in return to demonstrate this. It’s all about thinking long term!

 

Quick Response Times

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This one is really a no-brainer and applies across all industries, but particularly in professional services. It’s imperative that you get back to customers as quickly as possible, whether it be in response to an email, a voice message or a call that you’ve received while in a meeting or otherwise engaged. There is nothing more frustrating for a client that has a time sensitive issue that needs attention immediately but has to wait because your provider isn’t getting back to you.

If you can get back to your customers within a few hours, you will actually put yourself ahead of the competition. According to Frost, the average response time to emails service providers is 17 hours. Make an effort to get back to your customers as soon as possible and your efforts will be appreciated.

For some types of businesses, this simply isn’t possible. You may be a sole trader or only have a few staff, making it very difficult to get back to customers if you’re busy on other jobs. In these cases, an answering service for small business, which allows you to outsource your incoming calls, can be very useful.

 

Foster Relationships With Customers

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Customers like to deal with people they know and feel as if they are valued. This is part of the reason account management is essentially an industry unto itself! As well as the actual service you provide, a large proportion of business is about the relationships that you create and maintain. Getting to know a little about your customers, their lives and the specifics of their businesses, and referring to them by name as often as possible will go a long way.

This can be more difficult for larger companies where you have many customers. In these cases, the least you can do is try keeping notes of previous discussions with clients and next time they call, bring up their file so that you have some reference point.

These points are part of the foundation that makes for great customer service, so no matter how small or large your business, they are well worth considering. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of your business, so make every effort to make it work in your favour!

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What Are The Key Features Of A Phone Answering Service?

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Phone answering services can be a good option for sole traders and small businesses that are looking to manage their incoming calls inexpensively, while also conveying the image of being a large company. This not only enables you to deal with clients in a professional manner but ultimately frees you up to take care of business matters and focus your attention where it focused! Phone answering services provide automated responses to your clients and help direct them to the appropriate party, leave a message or get the information they are after. Let’s take a look at a few more of the main features of an answering service for a small business.

Integrated voice response

The IVR greets users that are calling in if no one is immediately available, offering information and giving options for the caller to reach various departments. The recorded message is designed to be professional and unique for your business and the content of the message can be written by you, with directions and assistance from your provider.

Call transfer

If you have an office with more than one phone line, the call transfer feature allows you to connect the caller with the other line, which may represent another department for instance.

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Call forwarding

Calls can be forwarded on to other phone numbers too, including your own or another staff member’s mobile or landline phone. This is done seamlessly and very quickly, often giving the caller the impression that the call is being forwarded to somewhere in the same office. So even if you’re offsite on a job, you’re able to receive the calls that come through to you. This can be more useful for smaller companies that don’t have a full-time office staff.

Call waiting

Not only does this feature ensure that callers don’t have to hear the engaged signal and call later when the line is busy, but it also allows you to put calls on hold while you take others or perform some other task. The recorded message will keep customers on the line and ensures that you will be able to deal with their enquiry quickly and on the spot.

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Voice Mail

If a call is forwarded to a particular line and not answered – whether it is in the office or an external number – a voice mail service can ensure that you receive it. Often sole traders will be on a job when customers call in, meaning they are unable to receive the call. The voice mail feature ensures that the details are received and you can get back to them at a later date.

Music/Information on hold

Often a client will have a question or query that is fairly straightforward. We always recommend that while on hold, information is given to clients about how to make bookings, who to get in touch with about certain things and other company-specific information that you commonly need to provide clients.
Music is also a great way to keep the client on hold without losing their patience; generally, a combination of music and info are the best option.

Phone answering services have helped a lot of Australian small businesses cope with incoming calls in an efficient, easy and convenient way that benefit customers and staff alike. For more information about this and other virtual office and call services, get in touch with Call Service today or send us an email.

Three Things You Should Be Doing To Improve Customer Value

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Business value is one of the most important considerations when it comes to a potential or current customer’s decision making. How much value is their service provider offering to their needs? How does this compare to other players in the industry?

Ensuring that the customer gets maximum value from the service and knowing the key factors to achieve positive customer response always is essentially the fundamental undertaking of any business; it is a constant process of improving and fine-tuning and incorporates nearly all aspects of the service from customer service, pricing, quality of the product itself and importantly how well it satisfies the requirements of the customer. Indeed, improving even internal business processes is a means to creating more value for the customer, as resources can be used to improve the service as a result.

This article will go through a few of the ways business value can be improved in the ways a business deals with their clients, and the positive impact this can have on overall profitability.

Show that you understand the client’s position

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In order to maximize the value that you can offer to a client, it’s crucial that you demonstrate to them that you have a sound understanding of their needs and general situation. Doing so requires that you genuinely listen, which sounds simple but is something that can easily be overlooked. If a client feels as if you´re offering a service purely because that´s what you want to sell, rather than being exactly what they need given their requirement, they are going to get a lot more out of it. Taking this information and creating a tailor-made solution is obviously ideal, although depending on the industry and the scope of the business, may not be realistic.

Engaging with and showing an interest in the client and their position can help create a connection. This connection not only improves your chance of working with them in the future, but is often a signal to a client that their needs are being met.

Lead the client

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This is an adage that is particularly when it comes to the technology and IT industries, but nevertheless applies to nearly all professional industries and even trade services. Often, clients go away with a feeling of greater satisfaction when they are confident the provider they were dealing with was top notch. This is part of the reason professionalism is such an important value-adding component.

A lot of the time, clients are unsure and confused. In offering a solution, you need to help them feel confident that they are in safe hands and that they are acting in their own best interests by following your professional advice. Demonstrating complete confidence and decisiveness about the best solution is a must.

In leading, you need to make the right decision for the client, and communicate the reasons why what you’re offering is the right decision in a way they can understand. This is ultimately what a client is looking for.

Be there for the client

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Customer service isn´t just about doing a good overall job and maintaining a good relationship with your client, there’s also an element of being there for them as much as possible that can help them feel valued.

This is part of the reason clients easily become stressed and even upset when they are in need and unable to reach through to a business or speak to the person they’re after straight away. When disaster strikes, which it does in a wide range of industries and for any number of customers, the client needs to feel like they have someone there that has their back, and often these situations say a lot to the client about your service and how much value it provides them.

That’s why, in certain industries, it´s of great importance that you have some kind of a system for dealing with incoming calls, ideally reception staff. However, often small businesses are simply unable to afford extra staff – but there are other options that can prove to be very helpful for savvy business owners. Live answering or virtual reception services are designed to help you manage these incoming calls and ensure the client feels loved, even when you or your staff are unavailable. These services help to provide a human touch, which can be helpful to a distressed client calling in and much preferable to leaving a voicemail or having to deal with an automated system.

The considerations discussed can be helpful in ensuring the client recognizes the value that is being offered and also improves it. Good customer service is the cornerstone of a successful business and is often the number one priority for providers operating in certain industries. Approaching the customer service puzzle with a value-generating mind-set can be a very effective approach.

VoIP And How It Can Help Hour Business

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In Australia’s hyper-competitive market across just about every industry, businesses are forever looking at ways to find a competitive advantage. Cutting costs and increasing efficiency is always a good starting point and there are many ways to improve the phone communication side of a business – message answering services are one such option where another company looks after incoming calls when you’re not available to take them.

VoIP is a related service that can work in conjunction with or without a phone answering service. There are a great many features and advantages that come from installing this kind of system, some of which many businesses may not even be aware of. In essence, VoIP allows you to use the internet to access your phone system, overcoming many of the common problems that you are faced with when using a traditional analogue system. Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages.

Voicemail to email

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One of the things that have frustrated phone owners for years has been the difficulty of scribbling down names and numbers when listening to a voicemail – often it takes a few listens before you get it right! With VoIP, you can have your voicemail messages transcribed and sent to your email in text and/or audio form. This is very handy especially when things are busy. Plus when you’re in the office the best way of being notified of a missed call is via email.

Call forwarding

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In an office environment where people are coming and going, moving to different departments and potentially to different offices, you need to be able to have control over the flow of incoming phone calls, where and to whom they are directed, and so forth. VoIP allows you to do this quite easily in-house.

Teleconferences

 

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Nowadays many conferences of this nature are conducted via Skype, but with VoIP, you can do so with a bunch of added features. When we’re talking about many different people contributing to the meeting, things can get messy. But with features such as hand raising, muting certain participants and invitation management, the power is in your hands.

 

Data tracking

 

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As mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of VoIP is that the power is in your hands, it just takes a bit of time to learn the setup and you can manage it from your computer. It also means that everything is recorded for you included incoming calls, where they are directed, how long the calls are for and so on. This can help you make important business decisions, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

 

‘Hoteling’

 

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This is one of the biggest advantages of VoIP. In the modern world, people are always moving around, even while they work. Travel is becoming very common for workers in a range of industries, between different offices within the same company for example. Some people even work from home in some cases.

 

Hoteling’ is a feature that allows you to essentially duplicate the characteristics of the phone in your office to any other phone system anywhere in the world. When the phone rings in once place, it also rings in the other and connects you to the person calling. Effectively, this means that as long as you have an internet connection, you can answer a call to your Melbourne office while you’re beachside in Mexico. A very handy feature indeed.

 

Call answering services often utilise VoIP systems and can direct you in setting up such a system in some cases. Find out more by contacting Call Service today!

5 Ways to Ensure You’re Providing Good Customer Service

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There are so many things that determine why customers choose certain service providers over others. Maybe the prices are agreeable, maybe it’s more convenient, maybe it’s just a better product they are offering.  But good customer service goes a long way as well. Satisfying clients is about dealing with them in a professional and friendly manner.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review called “The Truth about Customer Experience” defines the relationship between you and your customer and the end-to-end journey. We have collected a list of some of the ways that are suggested to improve your business in this area:

1.Give Priority to your Customer

You need to listen to each and every customer and try to understand their needs as much as possible. Showing a customer that you are genuinely interested in helping them rather than interested in getting their business is a must. It will re-define your relationship with your customer and give you an opportunity to improve your service.

2.Create a Bond with your Customer

Emotional attachment is another way to create loyalty among a customer group. If your customer is satisfied with your service, they will tell others about your business. How you create a bond or connection is the million dollar question. Often it comes down to delivering in terms of your product, being reliable and treating customers as friends. This is a very efficient way to get more clients.

 

3.Remain Professional, but Hold your Ground

It’s a fact that you will come across clients that are difficult to deal with. Perhaps they are upset about something else, they had a bad day or maybe you made a genuine mistake. In these situations, it’s important to take responsibility when you’re in the wrong and show the customer that you understand their position. If it’s appropriate, offer something extra to show them that they’re important to you. But keep in mind that there are times when the customer needs to be dealt with firmly and fairly, if you hold your ground and keep it professional it will be better for the long-term nature of the relationship.

 4.Reward Loyalty

Long standing customers need to feel loved, and throwing in something extra just because is a good way to show that they are important to your business. This is true among basically all service areas and is a great way of retaining your customers.

5.Be Available and Reliable

No matter what kind of business it is, you should do your very best to make yourself as available when a customer tries to contact you. In many cases, however, this is simply unrealistic and it’s advisable to have a receptionist or other staff member to look after incoming calls on your behalf. This at least means you can show how important their call is to you even though you’re not there to receive it.

For smaller companies or sole traders that don’t have the budget, there are call answering services that essentially act as a receptionist on behalf of your business, answering inquiries in the proper tone and providing the right advice if needed. This is a very effective way of retaining customers.