Category Archives: Customer Service

The Business Benefits Of Effective Telephone Support

There are certain things in business that are essential to have any chance of regarding yourselves as a success. The obvious things are to consider how much money you are bringing in, in comparison to your competitors. After all, business is the game of money making and making money is the only way to win it. Another key thing to consider is the profile of your business, it is a well-known brand that is likely to progress in future years, are you classed as an up and coming world beater that simply needs time to grow.

Assessing the infrastructure of your business

Aside from the way that your business is construed externally it is also vital to gauge your success by assessing yourselves internally and scrutinising the infrastructure that you have in place. The infrastructure of a business is vital to ensuring that, if it is successful, that success will continue for many years into the future.

Workforce

The first thing to consider is the workforce. Without a happy workforce it is impossible to run a successful business. It is vital to treat them with care and attention so as to instil this ethos onto them when they are working for you. If you employees are hardworking and happy, then your clients and customers will be happy and will be more likely to continue using your services.

Move with the times

After this it is important to look at the development team that you have at your disposal. A stagnant business is going nowhere and is important to evolve with the times in order to guarantee on-going success in the future.

Keep clients satisfied

Once you have your end of the business under wraps it is time to start thinking about your clients and how they will need to be satisfied in order to ensure continual success in the future. It cannot be emphasised enough how important the clients are, because if they’re not happy then you’re not going to be able to have much success. It is important to do some market research and to what they want and need and then make sure adaptations are made in relation to your results. The key to business success is to never be happy with what you have got.

Telephone support

Something that is overlooked during a business analysis is the impact that telephone support can have upon a business. This is a crucial piece in what is a very complicated business and is something that, if done correctly can help make your business stand out from its competitors.

Telephone support is, in most cases, your client’s only true link to your business, which is why it can never be over-estimated. Helpful support delivered by personable and friendly people can help put a face to what they might see as a company devoid of character, one whose sole purpose is to exploit its users and to make money. If you have the ability to make you service users positively like your services and what you stand for then not only will they continue to support you in the future but they will also work to spread the notoriety of what you do.

Guest post contributed by Simon Jones, a technology and business blogger who loves helping people grow and expand their business, a big advocate of Telephone answering systems from the likes of Moneypenny to really free up time & provide a quality service for small businesses looking to expand.

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Getting It Right: Customer Service On The Internet

With the majority of businesses taking to the internet in at least some way, customer service has changed. Gone are the days of customers having to physically visit a store to return a product, and even picking up the phone to lodge a complaint is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

The internet has altered many things in our lives, and not least how we expect the businesses we deal with to handle customer service. All online companies should be taking steps to ensure their customer service is a good fit with e-communications and helps, not hinders, the customer relationship.  To do this, there are several things that online customer service must address and be aware of.

Availability

If you have a website your customers will be able to visit it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And they will also expect to be able to get in touch with you 24/7. This does not mean they want to be able to pick up the phone and speak to an adviser at 3am, but it does mean they want to be able to find contact information and start a conversation whenever it suits them. To help them do this your website should clearly show your email address and phone number, and you might also consider a contact form and live chat facility at certain times.

 Acknowledgment

If a customer comes into a store on the high street or speaks to someone on the phone it is obvious that their comment is being listened to. But if they have sent an email or filled out your contact form they will want confirmation that their message has been received. Set up your system to send an automated response immediately. This should give an indication of how long it will take for a customer service adviser to respond and give your contact details in case the customer wants to chase up their enquiry.

Choose words wisely

Email is great for all sorts of reasons, but it can sometimes be a tricky medium to master. Things you type in a written message might be interpreted differently from how you intended, and this could upset your customer. Read through emails before you send them and think carefully about whether a phrase could be mis-construed. For example, “as I said on the phone” might be taken as a passive-aggressive reminder of what has already been said.

Online customer service is not only about replying to direct communications from customers, but also encompasses social media. An active presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram can encourage and boost customer relationships. Again, if you are going to use social media be sure to choose your messages carefully and make it clear to customers if you are not going to be able to respond to interactions quickly, or at all. Social media profiles can also be a great way to enhance your marketing efforts through competitions or feedback surveys.

Lyndon Ogden is an advocate for great customer service and its potential for increasing business.

Testing A Hybrid Call Center

The hybrid-model call center is gaining traction as hospitals look to prioritize their efforts and save money, but still keep control over their services. Using a hybrid model allows healthcare providers to offer a complete call center system even if its in-house operations aren’t that large.

This hybrid model combines both in-house services and contracted, or outsourced, services. Hospitals across the nation are using different combinations, so there’s a growing buzz around what works and what doesn’t — unfortunately specific combinations have proven they work across all situations.

The main reasons medical service providers should consider moving to a hybrid model are their ability to provide assistance and backup in case of emergencies, their ability to control or even cut costs, and their potential as a platform for future growth.

Perhaps the clearest benefit is the addition of an emergency backup by outsourcing part of your system. In an emergency situation or at times of disaster, having an offsite call center can free up some of your staff to help assist with the influx of patients and the need for mobile triage units. Hybrid models don’t always allow for an off-site service to take over the full load, but this type of plan can be developed with your service providers.

An off-site call center can handle overflow when call volume reaches unmanageable levels—this can be due to either an increase in calls or reductions in staff, either permanent or temporary reductions. As budgets get reduced, this provides extra flexibility in peak service times.

Increasing Service, Reducing Cost

Reducing costs doesn’t have to mean reducing staff, but it does often mean outsourcing services. While outside call centers can provide a great buffer for overflow during times of high call volume, operators also need to look at the costs when call volume is low. When call volumes are low, the cost per call actually increases because hospitals are paying their employees the same per hour regardless of volume.

Some services can charge flat rates while others can charge depending on volume. Reduced-volume billing can end up being an added bit of savings.

Cost-savings can also be achieved by turning to outside service providers when a new service or program is going to be added. Adding in programs typically means training staff or hiring new members; it includes buying, testing, and running new equipment or software; and it can even mean expanding hours for services as staff and operations are shuffled. These kinds of costs are all taken care of by the service provider when outsourcing a new program or function.

Planning for the Future

One use of a hybrid model is also to help hospitals plan for the future. The growth model here is adding in new services and additional support before a hospital or organization can fully staff those additions. Adding in a call center would allow an organization to test services and to understand the workflow of new operations – how they work in the abstract and how they can work at your office are often very different things.

Outsourced centers can provide the framework for a new service while a hospital focuses on the entire internal infrastructure it will need to support the work itself. Most professional call centers can be contracted to plug service gaps that in-house systems don’t yet support, but they can also be off-boarded once an internal system can take over.

This hybrid model allows a healthcare organization to prepare for times of disasters or increased call volumes, keep costs down regardless of volumes, and start to expand their operations without the need to expand their staff.

Kurt Duncan is the Director of Operations of MedConnectUSA.com. MedConnectUSA is a leading medical answering service and has been serving the healthcare industry since 1991.

Why Being Transparent With Customers Is So Important

If you have ever worked in any sort of retail position, you have probably heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” And if you have ever worked retail, you know the incorrectness of that statement. However, whatever business you are in, there is no denying that your customers are the most important part of your business; and no business can survive without customers. That is why it is so important to treat your customers well. Listen to them, give them what they need, serve them, and most importantly, respect them. Part of showing respect as a business comes with transparency.

Digital Age

There has been a shift in the kind of relationship that businesses share with their customers. It is now expected of a business to be open and public with their customers, as well as easy to reach. One of the biggest reasons for this shift is social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have hundreds of millions of users, each of whom is looking for ways to connect with people that they would not normally be able to contact. This extends to business, and many companies have millions of followers on Twitter, or fans on Facebook.

Complaints

The knock on effect of such direct channels of communication is that it is a lot easier for people to contact companies with certain complaints, questions, and comments; and they do. More and more people are turning to social media to voice their opinion, shunning traditional customer service channels, which means that any criticism is suddenly very public. No company is immune from such public criticism, no matter how good their product, but there is a clear difference in the way that companies respond to such problems.

Responding with Transparency

Every company receives criticism on social media, it is part of what makes the internet such a blessing and a curse. When this happens, it can be tempting for the company in question to simply ignore the offending tweet or post and hope that it will go away, but this is the biggest mistake that one could make. The best way to address such problems is to deal with them immediately. Be honest and open, apologize for bad experiences, and most importantly, do whatever you can to help fix the problem.

Bad Publicity Spreads, But so Does Good

Negative tweets have the tendency to go viral very fast, but on the plus side, so to positive tweets. Social media can be one of the best tools available for generating good publicity, and the best part about it is that it is absolutely free. Companies with good presences on social media, who make an effort to respond to their customers online, soon garner positive reputations, and these are the sorts of things that spread fast online. Customers are not fools, and they know what they want. If you try to deceive them or ignore them online, it does not take much for them to turn it into a PR disaster for your company. So when it comes to communicating with your customers, transparency is the only policy.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching alternative dispute resolution and small business consultation.