There are many factors that customers consider when deciding if they like a business. These factors may differ on the specific individual, but as a whole, customers expect a good product or service, great customer service, and the process with which any problems or concerns are handled. In order for a business to successfully meet all of these criteria, they need to be available. Availability is the basis for exceptional customer service, as well as the ability to assist when needed. Although it can be difficult for a single business owner to be available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, there are additional ways to meet customer?s strict availability needs.
Inform customers of a contact plan
You may realistically not be available every single hour of the day. However, it is important to notify customers and clients ahead of time of your availability schedule, especially if it is unique. When you make an initial contact with customers, make it a point to inform them of the availability schedule. Print that availability schedule on any paperwork that you will provide to them. If you run a business or retail storefront, ensure that those unique business hours are easy to see on the main page.
Hire a trusted second point of contact
If you have gaps in your availability that will potentially affect your customer service abilities, consider hiring a trusted second point of contact. This person will be responsible for answering phones and assisting customers, when you are unable to. It is important to find someone with great availability and someone that can be available during your off times. Approximately 80% of people will hang up on a business if they hear a voicemail. Do not lose your customers, simply because someone is unable to answer the phone.
Provide Email and text availability
Sometimes, even if you are unable to answer a phone call, you have the ability to respond to a text or Email. About 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It is likely that you always have access to your cell phone. If you provide customers with your texting and Email information, you can increase your response times. Many customers will also appreciate the advanced usage of communication.
Hire a small business answering service
Small business answering services are perfect for the small business owner who cannot always be available to the customers. They are usually an after hours call service that acts as a business answering service for your customers. They are specially trained and educated in your product or service, giving them the capability to provide exceptional customer service to your customers. The after hours phone service can save you money, while also increasing your profits.
U.S. brands are losing approximately $41 billion each year due to poor customer service. The best answering service can put that lost money back into your pocket. Customers will not even realize that they are calling an after hours answering service, because the employees are so well versed in the business. Instead, the small business answering service simply provides them with the assistance and attention they desire.
A lot goes into a great customer experience. Customers expect businesses to provide them with a quality product or service. They also expect to be treated like a valued customer. To be treated like a valued customer usually requires consistent availability. If the customer has a question or an issue with the product, they want it answered immediately. Small business may struggle with being available every single minute of the day. However, it is important to be available, so additional plans may need to be made. Always inform your customers of your availability schedule, hire someone to fill any availability gaps, give customers the ability to contact you via Email or text, and use a small business answering service after hours. Your customers will appreciate the added effort.