Aiming to be your customers’ favorite? Then establish a positive and lasting relationship with each phone dialogue.

Aiming to be your customers’ favorite? Then establish a positive and lasting relationship with each phone dialogue.

When customers have important, expensive or complicated matters, calling customer service is still the most sought-after point of contact. Although there may be fewer calls to the customer service center, these calls are increasingly important – and to the customer, bad service is a dealbreaker.

By Helene Bonne

The phone remains a crucial customer service channel

The January 2024 edition of the UK Customer Satisfaction Index report from the Institute of Customer Service shows that the telephone remains an important customer service channel. In fact, the phone comes in 3rd place behind in-person and website service as the most used channel.

However, not every business has a High Street store or branch where customers can walk in and get help. Nor can all service be handled via the website forms, FAQs or chatbots. (Among customers who have interacted with a bot, 50% still need to speak to a person afterwards, according to the report).

The more important your product or service is to the customer, the more important quality customer service is to them. In the banking segment, for example, when it comes to big decisions such as mortgages and pension savings, even young, digitally native customers want to speak to a bank employee.

Good customer service over the phone is still good business

You know the statistics. It costs up to 600 % more to attract a new customer than to retain one. You also know that there is a linear relationship between loyalty/retention and customer satisfaction. Therefore, taking phone calls seriously is still good business.

But it has to be handled the right way: Customer service must be informed, personalized and consistent across touchpoints – and with no unnecessary call transfers and repetition for the customer or giving the customer a number to call back. This is perceived as poor service by the customer.

Avoid the 3 deadly customer service sins!

What customers hate most on the phone:

  1. Repeating themselves
  2. Getting a number and being told to call back later
  3. Being transferred in vain, for the agent to scramble to find expertise or frantically clicking around in different IT systems (that crash)

Create personal connections through efficient IT

You can deliver consistently great customer service experiences over the phone by having an IT system that integrates phone numbers with your CRM system. By scanning the content of your CRM-system and linking it with the caller’s phone number, all existing customer data, previous conversations and current appointments is displayed the moment, the call comes through. (If you wish the customer to enter a case number, social security number or any other digits relevant to your business, you can request so in an IVR welcome message.) The moment a customer call comes through, all employees have access to a comprehensive overview of the customer’s history with your company and can continue the conversation based on what you last spoke about.

This not only enables each employee to create a positive, valuable and lasting relationship based on quality in every dialogue The customer will also feel welcomed and met – and as anything but just another number. And that’s where the magic and personal connections happen!

31 % prefer excellent service – even if it costs more

In the survey, banking and financial services customers were asked to prioritize the importance of service and price on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates a preference for low price and no frills service and 10 expresses a preference for excellent customer service, even if it means paying more.

31.3 % responded that they prefer excellent customer service, even if it costs more. The key reasons for preferring excellent service are, according to the survey, that customers want support, advice and reassurance that the company’s service is appropriate for them.

And while not all companies provide banking services, great service is still very important to a number of customers. So much so that they are, in fact, willing to pay extra for it.

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