Telephone Answering Service Woes: Scary Consequences

Poor customer service costs US businesses an estimated $62-billion dollars a year in lost revenues. Sadly, despite all we’ve learned throughout the years of its importance, these figures continue to rise. Not surprising is the fact that most of this money is lost via phone-based service problems with the most common complaints being rude staff, being redirected multiple times, and being put on hold for too long.

This certainly isn’t good for modern businesses, with the aging baby-boomer generation being more tolerant of poor service; but also less likely to be a long term customer and brand advocate over the “booming” numbers of younger Gen Y and Z buying products and services.

Displeased of customer service

Respectively, 27% of baby-boomers demand great over-the-phone service – or else! On the other side, a full 62% of the younger generations claim they would stop doing business with a company who offered poor service.

Given that the majority of modern customer service is conducted digitally, over the phone and Internet, any company looking to make clients happy and keep them coming back for more needs to have their “phone answering game” dialed in perfectly!

Here’s a few of scary consequences that unfold when your telephone service isn’t up to snuff.

Customer acquisition costs go up, and lifetime value goes down

It’s a known fact that new customers are much more expensive to acquire than it is to hang on to the ones you already have. Not that getting new customers shouldn’t be a constant moving force in your business!

Still, when your telephone service levels go down, not only do you have to work harder and spend more on damage control to keep those unhappy folks, you also have to spend a lot more money on marketing, in order to unsully the bad reputation your company gets from word-of-mouth spreading about your shoddy customer support levels.

Unhappy customers also don’t respond as favorably to price increases, meaning they’re more likely to leave when prices climb. If you’re not scared about what your poor service levels are doing to your bottom line, keep reading.

Conversions suffer and the losses are tough to quantify

Consider all the many situations that can occur when your telephone service is bad or non-existent:

  • “Customer A” has burning pre-sales questions but can’t get through due to a busy queue or because you don’t have anyone answering the phone after hours.
  • “Customer B” only does business with companies that answer the phone the first time they call and who also don’t leave her on hold waiting more than a few minutes!
  • “Customer C” wants to set up an appointment with a sales representative early the next day, but the clunky old company answering machine can’t accomplish such a feat, can it?

These and other scenarios are a nightmare for any company looking to scale their business by maximizing conversions. That’s why it’s so important to have someone answering your calls 24/7 – either by hiring more staff or outsourcing to a reputable phone answering service.

Employee commuting by train

Employees start to leave for greener pastures

There’s nothing scarier for an employee than getting up and going to a job day-in and day-out where they’re going to do nothing but listen to customers calling to complain about how terrible the company they work for is.

When service levels continually plummet, your employee’s life gets harder and harder. And, with all those calls coming in, it becomes harder to manage those calls, making sure accurate messages are taken and ensuring customers are routed to the right company representative.

An outside telephone answering service will often offer more than just the ability to answer calls and take messages, too. They can also help route your calls during business hours, schedule appointments for sales and service staff, and even help with basic to moderate product troubleshooting and other support-related issue in some cases.

Your reputation is irreparably damaged

Over half of all jilted customers who feel they didn’t get the prompt and complete service they want from a company are going to complain. In fact, over 60% of those customers will always tell someone about terrible customer service and are likely to tell three times as many people as those happy people who would share their pleasant experiences would.

Bad service experiences spread like a raging forest fire, and as mentioned in the opening paragraph, most of them usually start and end on the phone. It’s so much easier to wow a customer in person, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the “connected” world we live and do business in just doesn’t allow for that kind of interaction most of the time.

A study in China that scoured the Twitter-esque social platform “Weibo” and analysed over 70-million posts, found that the rage-fueled posts were the most popular and shared on the network. What this means for companies who offer poor phone support is that you’re essentially setting yourself up to be potentially even more popular than your competition – unfortunately not in a good way!

When you screw up your reputation, it’s becoming increasingly hard to bounce back because of so many readily available competitors waiting with open arms to take your unhappy customers and turn their frowns upside down.

Handling complex communication needs

Most customer service problems originate on the phone…

The truth is that most of your employees weren’t likely hired exclusively to answer customer phone calls. And, most companies don’t have the infrastructure and/or budget to keep an employee strapped to a headset 24/7. So, employees get over-stressed and don’t offer the support levels modern customers demand, and calls go unanswered which leaves even more money left sitting on the table.

This is why hiring a phone service to take some or even all your call handling work is so crucial to overall success in the market. With an answering service, you get all the benefits of having dedicated in-house support on hand, without the added expense of hiring more staff and spending the money installing a dedicated call routing system in the office:

  • Trained professionals whose sole job is to answer the phone with a smile.
  • Phones are answered promptly and immediately routed to the right person.
  • Messages are instantly transcribed and sent to the recipient using email and SMS.
  • Calls are recorded in case of customer/agent disputes or discrepancies.
  • Many services can even book appointments and make sales for you when the team is absent.
  • Often technical and sales call center support is offered as an add-on, with many call answering services managing their teams 100% in-house.

The benefits are many and the drawbacks few. Don’t let your company fall prey to the consequences that come from phone answering woes in the office.

It’s much easier to stop problems from occur ring in the first place than it is to fix them after the fact. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!