It’s the usual day when the customer service line rings once more. Without apprehension, you reach for the button to patch that call in. It’s a customer, named Cathy, seeking some guidance. She wants to follow through with a scheduled pickup at one of your B2B’s retail outlets. What should you do? How can you assist? Your response ultimately should aim at a meeting or possibly exceeding customer expectations. Without hesitation, you pull up google maps and ask her to supply the outlet for the pickup. That way you can provide directions that help her to get there along the quickest and safest possible route. Then you ask her to hold the line while you inform the outlet of Cathy’s arrival. You return to your call with Cathy, thanking her for her patience and rendering her the good news. Cathy is delighted and wishes you a great day just before the call ends.
Evolved Customer Expectations
Customer expectations have evolved along with the technology at hand. 67% of customers surveyed admit that their expectations have increased. Simply put, customers expect great service when they reach for that customer service line. One could argue that if Cathy had GPS she could have found her way for herself. Yet isn’t it great that the customer service agent could do what was required to enhance Cathy’s expectations? She got what she called for, plus an added bonus!
A web presence is awesome to have and maintain to attract these evolved customers. 95% of customers who do online purchases, read reviews before making purchases. Also, with assistance from websites like Yelp and Angie’s List, service providers and their ratings are a click away. All this helps the customers decide who they should do business and who should be avoided without prior interaction.
However, if when customers call they don’t get that same momentum available on the web, they too will lose interest. There are just so many other companies online promising to deliver and end up wasting your time when no one answers the phone. It is important that as a provider of products and services, your business is able to meet customer expectations. If you are unable to deliver timely assistance to cater to your customers’ needs then they will take their business to your competitors.
Traditional Answering Services
The fact is, customers complain about the missing human element when things get automated. Although automation is for managing customer expectations, some companies may also outsource their phone calls to traditional answering services. Such traditional call centers usually operate after business hours, on the weekend and possibly operate during business hours.
The benefits of this service include providing the customer with:
- Quick service.
Goodbye to exhaustive ringing which usually ends unceremoniously with a dead tone.
- Human interaction.
No pre-recorded message asking you to leave a message after the tone.
- Affordable operators.
The exchange rate of the US currency in the various countries outsourced to yields inexpensive labor.
As enticing as it all sounds, outsourcing telephone calls can be detrimental to your business. Language barriers can be very frustrating to your US-based customers. This will, in turn, create poor customer service expectations for your customers. When your customer calls they expect high quality and efficient customer service which entices them to do future business.
Traditional answering services are an option, yet they fail to provide customers with the highly-personalized experience promised. They are unable to serve as a true extension of your business because of their offshore limitations. Customers are usually instantly put off when they recognize that their receptionist is not locally based.
Bet, you’re possibly considering just having someone, situated within your organization to perform receptionist and other administrative tasks. That’s also another option geared at managing customer expectations. Such an individual will be within the thick of things and be able to provide assistance efficiently. An on-site receptionist would be the perfect solution if hiring one did not call for great investment from your business.
Yet you must factor in the additional costs of the:
- Equipment and software are necessary to perform the duties.
- Salary for such a service which can cost, on average, $36,000 annually.
- Severance packages and other employee benefits.
- Training the individual to perform the required tasks.
Consequently, depending on one individual to perform both receptionist and administrative tasks is not a viable option. Doing so leaves your business rather defenseless and at risk. What happens when this person is ill? On snack, lunch, errands or vacation? Customers won’t stop calling because the receptionist is not there to answer their calls. At such opportunities, that $36,000 investment receptionist doesn’t quite seem worth it.
If your aim is exceeding customer expectations, virtual receptionists maybe your best option! These individuals work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. They coordinate and collaborate to ensure that every opportunity to cater to customer expectations is handled with efficiency.
Such a team, of highly trained individuals, work, from a US-based office. They are able to perform many of the tasks of an on-site receptionist, such as:
- Taking messages and scheduling appointments
- Outbound and inbound calling services
- Handling FAQs
- Answering and transferring live calls
Empowered with the right technology, virtual receptionists provide high-quality service which can be affordably attained. That way your callers can get that in-house receptionist experience minus the exorbitant cost.
Looking for the right virtual receptionist or team of virtual receptionists for managing customer expectations and scaling your brand? Contact us today for further tips to providing your clients with the products and services which shall exceed their customers’ expectations.