Over the years we have run into companies stressing ultimate customer service with management demanding the incoming calls get answered within two to three rings. To achieve this they have all incoming calls ring most (if not all) of the front office staff phones. We have found in all cases when all phones ring:
- All staff stop whatever they are doing momentarily.
- Consciously or subconsciously, they are interrupted.
- They wonder if the primary answering person is going to answer it.
- After ring two they seriously wonder, and ring three they start to reach for the phone.
We are told that when this happens:
- Focus is broken and errors are more likely to occur.
- It prompts a smoke and/or bio break.
- We have been told these interruptions can easily add up to over an hour or more every day of nonproductive time.
- The back-up answering party typically cannot answer the question, or help the calling party.
- A message has to be taken, or the called party has to be found.
- The result is an extended delay in the primary work focus.
- The calling party has not been provided ultimate customer service because they are placed on hold, have to recite a message, and most likely did not reach the called party in a timely manner.
Part of our “call flow” analysis is what percent of callers know who they want to speak with. You are successful because you build personal relationships with your clients. It is typical to be told that 50% – 70% of callers know who they need to reach. So how would “customer service” be enhanced if:
- Callers could direct dial an individual or department with their “personal” number.
- When the call rings your phone you see the incoming caller ID.
- If you are unable to answer the call, the caller reaches your voice mail and hears your greeting that is personalized to your status – in the office, in a meeting, out of office, etc.
- So the caller knows if you are in, out or in a meeting.
- The caller can always press “0” and be routed to your call coverage phone for assistance or leave a message.
We find this enhances your clients experience with you in several ways:
- With a direct dial number the client feels special to have your number.
- They reach their called party quicker, no “please hold” or “may I take a message”.
- If they get voice mail, they know if you are in, out or in a meeting.
- They can always press “0” to reach a live body if they need immediate assistance.
- With less call going through the “front office”, your staff:
- Have more quality time to spend with callers that do not know who they need to speak with, therefore enhancing their “first impression” with your company.
- Will be less frustrated with ringing phones.
- Will minimize nonproductive time and possible errors.
This is just a brief overview. The bottom line is that with proper call flow analysis we can design a system that represents a “Win / Win” for you and your clients, therefore enhancing your bottom line.