Ringostat Features

Don’t annoy your customers: 7 fatal mistakes in call handling

Businesses are well aware of the importance of customer service and strive for excellence.  But consumers are also becoming more demanding. For example, as many as 60% of customers are ready to switch to another brand after the first negative experience. There are also encouraging figures: 94% of consumers are inclined to make repeat purchases after good service. Read about fatal mistakes in call handling, as well as ways to make a positive impression when communicating by phone and in correspondence.

Inability to get through and long waiting times on the line 

A customer’s “nightmare” is waiting endlessly for an operator to connect when calling a company. Sometimes a person manages to hate the looping melody they have to listen to for long minutes. 

Here are some statistics: 46 seconds users wait for a connection before it starts to cause dissatisfaction. At the same time, a person spends as much as 34 days of his or her life in “standby mode”!

And that’s not the worst part. Imagine that the reason for the request is important or urgent. For example, you need to make an appointment with a doctor or veterinarian, or car service if your car is in the middle of the road. Or to the bank if the ATM “ate” the money and suddenly froze. For such a business, a high level of service is not only income but, above all, reputation and customer trust.

It’s great if you can set up a distribution of incoming calls between employees so that users don’t have to wait for more than 2 minutes. 

It is also worth calling back as soon as possible to customers who did not wait for a connection and hung up. Call history is conveniently tracked in virtual telephony reports. The sales rep will see all missed calls and immediately call potential customers before they contact competitors.

mistakes in call handling, call history
Call history in Ringostat Smart Phone App

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“Short memory” of sales reps

Loyal customers always expect special treatment. This applies to both big brands and local businesses. It’s nice when a fruit seller addresses you by name, a barista makes coffee “as usual,” and an online store remembers the history of previous purchases.

62% of users would like companies they buy from to remember the details of previous interactions. And they shouldn’t force the customer to remind or reintroduce themselves every time they contact a new communication channel or talk to a new employee. It is not necessary to “keep everything in mind”.

In particular, CRM systems help sales reps identify customers during a phone call or written request if the system is integrated with telephony and messengers. In this case, when you receive an incoming call, you will immediately see the name of the user who is already in the system. And you can immediately address the person by name — they will be pleased to hear it. 

It’s also good when your communication tools allow you to pull up the user’s communication history, if necessary. Even if they were previously served by another employee. For example, listen to previous phone calls or re-read the dialog. This, among other things, will also be useful in case of misunderstandings and disputes.

Call recording attached to CRM, mistakes in call handling
Call recording attached to CRM

“This is not for us. Call the other department, I’ll give you the number.”

Perhaps everyone has had to call a large company where the receptionist is responsible for distributing incoming calls. It’s good if the employee immediately understands the reason for the call and transfers it to the appropriate department. But it also happens that transferring a call is impossible for technical or human reasons. And the client has to write down the desired number under the secretary’s dictation and call again. 

This is extremely annoying: according to statistics, almost 70% of users are dissatisfied when their call is transferred from one department to another.

The simple and affordable solution is a voice menu that prompts the user to dial the appropriate number on the keyboard to contact the required specialist. For example, press “1” if they are calling the sales department, “2” if they are calling the logistics department, and so on. But remember that your voice menu must allow you to contact a live person.

If sales reps do have to redirect calls to colleagues, make sure it’s easy and quick. And no, a printout with a list of extensions above your desk is not an easy solution. Some technologies allow you to transfer a call to another employee or department in one click. It’s easy for employees, and most importantly, it’s convenient for your customers.

Ringostat Smart Phone, mistakes in call handling
Click the handset icon with an arrow in Ringostat Smart Phone to transfer the call to a colleague

Retelling the problem again to each employee

When we talk about transferring calls to other employees or departments, we must mention another common cause of customer dissatisfaction. It’s the need to explain the reason for the call several times.

Let’s imagine a very real situation.

  1. A person can’t open a faulty post office machine and receive a parcel. He calls the postal company’s hotline and tells the operator about the problem. 
  2. The call center operator, who receives calls all over the country, cannot help in a particular city. Therefore, he switches the call to the local branch closest to the person, which is likely to know about the problem. 
  3. After connecting with the operator, the customer tells the story of the blocked post office again. 
  4. The representative says that he already knows about the breakdown. And he informs them that the parcel is being moved to the warehouse while the post office is being repaired. So it’s time to contact the warehouse employee, and the call is transferred to him. 
  5. The customer has to tell another employee about the incident with the post office machine, who eventually tries to find the parcel.

It’s easy to guess that in such a situation, frustration with the service will only increase due to the need to repeat the same thing several times. This was also confirmed by 33% of consumers.

But there are solutions to help avoid this scenario. For example, if your telephony has not only a regular, direct call transfer but also a so-called “soft” one. This means that:

  • the employee will first talk to the client;
  • then switch to a colleague and tell the details of the request; 
  • meanwhile, the client will wait while listening to pleasant music; 
  • finally, he will be connected to the right employee who is already aware of the situation.

Forced surveillance of the “secret life of the office” 

According to statistics, only 15% of companies play music while on hold.

It can be unpleasant for a person if, instead of switching a call between lines, employees simply pass the phone to each other. After all, then they have to hear it:

  • a description of their problem or request, which the sales rep passes on to a colleague in the meantime;
  • extraneous conversations between employees, especially jokes or familiar remarks; 
  • rustling, beeping, and noise.

Use digital communication solutions to avoid annoying the customer. Mute the microphone if you need to discuss something with an employee, so the customer will also hear only pleasant music.

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Sales rep’s lack of understanding of customer needs

Feeling listened to and understood is a sincere desire of every person. This applies to both ordinary and business-to-business relationships.

Typically, a consumer feels disappointed or even angry when a salesperson tries to sell them something they don’t need. But a sales rep doesn’t always do this intentionally. More often, it’s about the inability to understand the true intentions and interests of the interlocutor.

Some solutions help simplify and speed up the acquisition of important skills by sales reps. For example, tools that show an employee useful information about the other party during a phone call. And you don’t have to be an exceptional empath to better understand and satisfy customer needs with these insights.

mistakes in call handling, Sales rep's lack of understanding of customer needs
An example of Ringostat Smart Phone interface with insider information visible during a call

How to use it in practice? Let’s imagine an online store selling travel equipment.

  1. An incoming call from a customer comes in. 
  2. The employee immediately sees that the user has just looked at several similar backpacks from different manufacturers. 
  3. Instead of asking the person what they’re interested in, the sales rep can immediately lead the conversation in the right direction. 
  4. It is enough to clarify the details, and you can skillfully persuade the buyer to buy a more expensive model, more practical and comfortable. 
  5. You can also offer additional equipment for a hike — a hammock, a sleeping bag, and a tent. 
  6. The customer will be pleasantly surprised by how well the sales rep understood them and how professionally they helped them choose the best equipment for their trip.

Silence or long responses from messengers

Messaging or chatting on a business website is just as important as calls or online applications. But some companies don’t pay enough attention to them. The worst thing you can imagine is:

  • a silence that lasts for hours; 
  • an automatic message from a bot that offers to read the FAQ or promises to pass the request on to the operator within an unspecified time frame.

A Sprout Social survey found that 13% of consumers expect to receive a response within the first hour of contacting them. In the Hubspot study, 39% of users expressed this expectation, but in practice, the average response time is about five hours. At the same time, 2/3 of users are not satisfied with the response speed.

So, if your business uses chats and messengers as one of the communication channels, try to respond with lightning speed. How to do it?

If you are a sales manager, train your employees to keep all messengers and chats open at all times. The sales rep should check for new messages every 15 minutes so they don’t miss anything. Or use automated services. For example, some CRMs track and collect messages from different messengers. 

At Ringostat, we use our development for this purpose to respond to three popular messengers simultaneously — Facebook, Viber, and Telegram. The user writes wherever it is convenient for him or her. And the sales rep sees all incoming requests in a single interface, so he doesn’t have to “jump” between open windows of several communicators. It’s also unlikely to miss anything — a push notification notifies you of every new request.

mistakes in call handling, Silence or long responses from messengers

Conclusions: how not to annoy customers

  1. Respond to messages in chats or messengers as soon as possible. A potential buyer will not wait, but will simply go to a competitor. 
  2. Long waits are also annoying in the case of a phone call. To receive all incoming calls on time, sometimes you need to hire more operators. However, you just need to set up telephony in a thoughtful way to distribute all calls between employees productively.
  3. If a customer gets through to the wrong department, don’t make them write down the right number from dictation. Use digital solutions and switch the call to a colleague in one click.
  4. It’s great if you can tell your colleague the circumstances of the call when you switch the call. The person doesn’t have to tell you what the problem is again.
  5. Mute the microphone if you need to transfer the call or clarify something during the call. It may be unpleasant for the customer to hear noise, whispering, or other conversations.
  6. Addressing by name is an easy way to pleasantly surprise each user. And if the sales rep also remembers the details of previous purchases, the customer will come back to you again and again. It’s impossible to keep everything in mind, and it’s unnecessary – there are simple solutions to preserve the history of communication.
  7. Salespeople who can understand the true needs and pains of the consumer are valuable professionals. But some solutions will help every employee learn to “read the mind” of the interlocutor without asking unnecessary questions and immediately offer what is really needed.
About author

Editor of the Ringostat blog. Author of articles for the media about digital and big portals about business. Studied journalism at the Odessa National University named after I. I. Mechnikov.