Communication Helps Businesses Fly Above Customer Service Complaints

Don’t keep your callers waiting in silence. Use a custom on-hold message for your business to keep them connected and engaged while they wait. (iStockphoto)

The airlines have gotten a bad rap when it comes to customer service for a long time. And let’s face it, some of it is well-deserved. Traveling is often stressful enough for the traveler under ideal circumstances. But factor in flight delays, lost luggage and extra fees for everything from carry-on bags to peanuts, and it’s easy to see why customer service can be such a pressure cooker for any airline. One bad step in the process of handling travelers’ issues can cause an inconvenience to explode into a public-relations catastrophe.

But the airlines don’t always blow it. Writer Paul Greenburg at ZED’s Social CRM blog shares his positive customer-service experience with United Airlines recently. And while the whole situation still was an inconvenience to him, United was able to mitigate his frustration with one simple thing: communication. Think about the customer service you provide over the telephone. Are you doing everything you can to communicate with your callers? A well-planned on-hold message for your business can eliminate callers’ anxieties and even help you generate more sales.

Putting callers on hold from time to time is inevitable. Let’s take a look at a few roadblocks to good telephone customer service and see how we can overcome them by communicating with on-hold messages.

Silence: This is a real call killer. If your callers get only silence when they are placed on hold, they will almost certainly abandon the call. Studies show many callers will hang up with 30 second of being placed on hold with silence. And those are callers who are not likely to call back.

Music on hold: This seems like a logical step up from silence on hold. But if you choose this route, be careful how you proceed. You cannot just play your favorite CD or playlist of songs. The fines you face for copyright violations can be steep. And besides, music alone is not really communicating with your callers.

Radio on hold: Playing the radio on hold runs into the same risks as playing music on hold, and more. In addition to the copyright violations, you run the risk of offending callers who do not like the same station you do. And even worse, what happens when a caller hears your competitor’s commercial playing while they are on hold waiting for you to answer their call?

A custom on-hold message addresses all of your needs. First, it keeps callers connected until you can take their calls. Callers will stay on the line up to three minutes longer on average with a message on hole versus silence. Second, it’s your opportunity to speak directly to those callers. Take advantage of it with fresh content that promotes your latest product lines, new services or seasonal and special promotions. And finally, tie it all together with the right background music and voice talent to make sure you are sending the right message to your callers.

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