Getting in contact with the right person the first time around is probably the easiest way to improve your customer service, and that’s something I can definitely say from experience. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting on hold for minutes (that seem like hours) only to be told that you have to be transferred to another department. I had that very experience recently when I called the number I was given in an email (by a large credit card company), which turned out to be the wrong department. Uggghhh!
Bringing it closer to home, our phone tree for Granbury Solutions used to be a real mess, and our customers were quick to let us know how they felt about it. It was options stacked on options, leaving you to press 8 to 10 buttons before you could even talk to a real person. It was so bad that even I avoided using it, opting instead to call direct lines or cell phone numbers. Looking back, that probably should have been a big red flag. (‘Hey Bronson, what was your first clue?” Duh!)
Thinking about this and other areas with opportunities for improvement, I established a team here to identify and knock down any roadblocks our customers experience with the intended outcome of making it easy to do business with Granbury. Since then, we’ve made sure to take steps toward making our people as easy-to-reach as possible. Each member of our sales and customer relations teams now has a direct-dial number so prospective or current customers can reach exactly who they need to without going through any extra hoops. Our new and improved phone tree allows callers to simply choose which department they’re trying to reach and immediately be connected to someone. We’re even working on adding live chat functionality on our websites so people won’t even need to pick up the phone to talk to a live person.
"Customers want to reach the correct person as quickly as possible."
Most restaurants or retail stores wouldn’t even think to have a phone system as complicated as our old one, but there’s one very important lesson that can be taken away from this experience no matter what type of business you have: Customers want to reach the correct person as quickly as possible. Whether they just want to know your hours or are trying to get in contact with a manager, providing customers with quick answers or passing them to the correct person the first time is crucial. No one likes sitting on the phone for longer than they need to, especially if they’re being passed around from person to person.
This idea isn’t just for customers on the phone, either. Anyone who visits your business should feel like their time is being respected. Like I mentioned in my last blog, getting left waiting for longer than a minute or two is the perfect way to indirectly tell a customer that they aren’t your priority. It’s a great way to lose business.
Learning from your own mistakes is one of the best ways to grow. Whether you train new employees on answers for common questions and requests, or monitor your employees as they work and fix problems as you see them, constantly doing your best to improve and grow on your own processes is one of the best policies any company can have. So accept errors as you see them, then get to work to make them better.
Until next time,