No one on the other end of the line? New customers could be left out in the cold | Cloud industry forum

No one on the other end of the line? New customers could be left out in the cold

Use a cloud-based communications system to track and monitor inbound calls improving capacity planning

By Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD, 8x8

Everyone wants engaged customers. Whether that means having them visit your website, convincing them to call a sales rep or even visit a high street store. But how would you feel if you eventually convinced a customer to come to your company or store to purchase a product but they were greeted with an empty room? Or they called in to buy something over the phone but couldn’t reach anyone on the other end of the line?  And then they turn around and call your competitor.

That’s precisely what happens to one in five people who call a business, according to new research. We surveyed 2,000 British consumers to find out what challenges they faced when trying to speak to a company on the phone. What’s worse is that 35% of those who couldn’t get through to someone were new customers looking for information on products, trying to open an account or make a purchase. Businesses are therefore missing a large number of inbound enquiries from potential customers who have taken the trouble to call them directly.

The message for businesses is clear: make sure someone picks up the phone when a customer calls. It can be tricky for assistants in a frantic office or a busy contact centre, but having the right technology in place can ease the strain. This would help route calls to the first qualified person who can respond to the enquiry, whether they’re based in another office, another country or even another continent.

By using a cloud-based communications system, businesses can also track and monitor inbound calls allowing the team to plan capacity according to the volume of incoming calls that fluctuate throughout the year.  As well as improved customer retention, businesses would see benefits in cost savings that can be gained from cloud-based communications systems.

But the research also reveals that even when customers do manage to get through to someone, with bad customer service businesses risk losing them to a competitor, sometimes even while they’re still on the phone. One in eight say they have started searching for competitors online during a call and a tenth have actually posted live on social media to name and shame a company during a poorly handled call. The problem is worse amongst young people aged 25-34 – over a quarter have gone online during a call to find competitors or complain.

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is just as applicable to businesses and getting off on the wrong foot can destroy a customer relationship for good. That’s why it’s crucial to make every interaction count and having the latest technology in place is the first step. Making sure customers are directed to an appropriately skilled agent who is able to handle their call stops them being passed around multiple agents and ultimately, getting frustrated with the whole experience. And when they’re frustrated, they’re more likely to turn to a competitor.

To learn more about the research and what it means for your business, click here