Making a good first impression

      

Making a good first impression

Adam -blogWith social media now adding a new public outlet for customers to vent frustration, bad experiences with customer service can be very damaging to a company's brand as word can spread quickly and magnify the problem.  In the same way, a good review from a happy customer can be seen by more people than ever and can do wonders for a company's reputation.

Call handlers have always been vital custodians of any brand; they are the first point of contact and can define the business's relationship with its customers. However, modernUKbusinesses are under constant pressure to reduce costs, as well as to offer services that reflect changes in communication technologies.  

Getting the call handling team right is critically important if the organisation is to deliver an excellent service.  A survey carried out in 2011 relating to British people's patience found that being put on hold was the third most likely cause of people becoming impatient and annoyed with a company. This is a clear example of how a customer's experience can affect their view of a company's brand or reputation.

As custodians of the client's brand and first port of call for customers, it's critical that the outsourced team is chosen carefully and reflects the same principals of the client company. When run properly, customers don't realise that they are talking to an outsourced partner and feel confident that they are being given the right information and in a way that reflects a client businesses' core values.

Many businesses now use an outsourced partner to handle specific marketing campaigns, as the cost of hiring new staff, particularly for a short amount of time, really adds up when you consider training, equipment, salary, sick pay, employer's National Insurance, annual leave and so on. Using outsourced support provides immediate cover that can be turned on or off to cover a specific campaign without the hassle of employing new people.

But once again, it is vital to ensure that the outsourced company reflects the client's brand and provides quality, well trained and well briefed call handlers. Using the right people and technologies to handle business calls effectively - whether processing an order that links to a sales system, or simply taking a message that can be sent via SMS or forwarded as appropriate - in each case it must provide a seamless experience for clients.  Cutting back on the quality of the call handlers or customer service is likely to prove a false economy, undoing any good work done through an effective marketing campaign or special offer.

So how can you protect your brand? Very few things can damage a reputation like poor customer service, particularly unanswered phones or mishandled enquiries.  For companies to build stronger customer and business relationships, selecting and having trust in your outsourced partner is vital.  They must be well trained and briefed, have strong people skills as well as access to the latest communication technologies in order to maintain the level of care and professionalism that clients demand.  So select you call handling partner carefully as, after all, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. 

Written by Adam Tilson at 12:35

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