How Often Will a Customer Continue to Call?

pims_20081208_sh0355The business world is an incredibly competitive place, and no matter how good your product or service may be, someone is always ready to take your customers away from you. That’s why it is so important to be certain that you take excellent care of customers at every interaction. With so much emphasis on ecommerce and website design, some business owners forget that many people still use the telephone when conducting business.

Customers have grown to expect rapid service, so they have little patience for waiting. The same customer who will leave your website if it doesn’t load in under three seconds will hang up the phone if their call is not answered in well under a minute. Just as you put effort into tuning your e-commerce site for optimized performance, you should tune your call center to ensure that you meet customer expectations.

While the maximum hold time that customers will endure varies depending on whether they are calling to place an order or to request service, in general, customers have low tolerance for holding. Most people will hang up if their call is not answered quickly enough, regardless of the reason for the call. New or potential customers are unlikely to give you more than one or two chances, so bear that in mind during peak call times such as around holidays or new product introductions. Many sales prospects will never call again because they decide to buy from your competition.

Existing customers looking for service are more likely to call back, although even they have a limited willingness to call before they too turn to a competitor. When you have an existing customer, it is much more cost effective to keep that customer happy than it is to replace them with a completely new customer, so it make sense to ensure that your support lines and customer service lines are functioning effectively. You will want to be certain that your call center equipment is adequate for call volumes and that your CSR team is both well trained and empowered to solve customer problems.

Nothing frustrates a customer more than long hold times, especially when they are shuffled from department to department and asked to repeat their identification and concern in their quest to resolve a problem. You should staff the call center to manage expected loads efficiently while minimizing customer wait time. In addition, you should cross train CSRs so that they can resolve a wide range of problems without assistance. Even existing customers reach a threshold of frustration that will drive them to your competition after two or three transfers or attempts to call back to reach a live person.

By partnering with a customer support call center that has the ability to answer the phone and connect with your callers, you will help drive a better perception of your company. Never assume that your product or service is so unique and desirable that customers will continue to call back until they reach someone. Even the most motivated customers will give up after a few tries and move on to a company with better service. Therefore, it is critical that your business is accurately represented by a call center that can manage any situation and provide a service to your customer and keep them satisfied.