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4 Steps Toward a Better Caller Experience

By Scott Greggory

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There are lots of moving parts to the caller experience. Nailing each of them with as many callers as possible can help customers remember your brand as detail-oriented and committed to delivering great service.

Here are a few steps you can take to provide a memorable experience for your callers.

1) Calculate your callers’ longest hold times. Lengthy hold and queue times can lead to high caller abandonment rates, and lost callers are lost revenue. If your customers are waiting in queue or on hold too long, consider adding a call-back option that allows them to avoid holding and receive a return call from your next available agent.

Knowing your longest hold times will also tell you how long your On Hold Marketing productions should be. For instance, if your customers typically wait 8 minutes on hold, you should not be subjecting them to just four minutes of looping OHM content. (Find your annual hold time here.)

2) Question long hold times. If your hold or queue times are lengthy, figure out why. Does your team not prioritize connecting callers quickly? Are operational inefficiencies preventing calls from being answered promptly? Do you need to add more staff to handle your call volume? (The ability to take more calls and process more orders could justify the added labor costs.)

If you can’t fix the cause of your long hold times, caller-centric On Hold Marketing content that’s updated frequently is even more important than normal. You can still deliver a positive experience by providing valuable information that callers can apply or any other type of engaging content. The goal is to help callers feel like their wait was worthwhile, not wasted time.

3) Commission a caller experience audit. It’s the best way to get a thorough, honest assessment of how your company handles incoming (or even outbound) calls. Specifically, a reputable third-party auditor can provide unbiased feedback on your staff’s skills, addressing important questions such as these:

  • Is your brand represented accurately during calls?
  • Are members of your phone team friendly with a heart for serving people?
  • Are they efficient, attending to your callers’ needs quickly but accurately?
  • Can they speak knowledgeably about your products and services?
  • Do they capitalize on opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell?
  • Can they recognize the red flags of customer dissatisfaction?
  • Are they empowered to “make things right” for angry customers?
  • Would the experience they provide encourage people to call again or share positive word-of-mouth?

4) Update your automated content. IVR and call processing announcements (CPAs) are the recorded messages that guide callers through your phone system. (Example: “To reach our Service department, press 2.”)

Nothing says “unprofessional” quicker than poorly executed automated content. If one of your employees recorded your company’s announcements directly into the handset of a phone, there’s a good chance you have room for an improved presentation.

Expertly written scripts and professional voiceover will immediately elevate the perception callers have of your company. Those elements can also improve customer interaction with your automated attendant, interactive voice response system and other call processing systems by making navigation quicker and more intuitive.