Your call is very important to us.

ledaza,customer service,sales training,customer satisfactionThen why have I been on hold for over seven minutes? If we add up the time it takes to select “1 for English” and the long list of "our menu options have changed”, clearly something is amiss. If my call is truly important, then don't waste my time.

Businesses think that blowing up smoke (using emotionally powerful words) or putting up a “we love our customers” sign gets them a free pass. Welcome to the new world of  "we don't really read or care what you say", just prove it.  One-Click behavior makes it very easy to shop elsewhere.

Some on-hold announcements just make matters worse;  “there are 4 callers ahead of you”, or an annoying repetition of “your call is very important to us”, demonstrate that we don’t count as much as the cost of adding enough customer service reps to prevent me from hanging up and calling your competitor.

A better message, before the dreaded hold, should be: “We are sorry that we are unable to answer your call immediately. Because you have been on hold, our incredibly knowledgeable and friendly customer service representative will have a twenty percent coupon for you to use today, or in the future. Thanks again for your patience.”

How much does your company spend on acquiring a qualified lead (lead-acquisition-cost)? Think again. Any resource that is directly related to finding new customers should be included, and the total number may shock you. Back to our caller. Anyone calling your business is a sales potential, yes, even those who call to complain. They are already inside your 'store' why would you want to chase them out?

Contrary to the notion that buyers are mean, impatient, and only want the lowest price, customers can be reasonable if you genuinely acknowledge their existence.

Think of your daily experience as a buyer. Too often,those with whom we are trying to do business with (buy from) are overly absorbed in their own world of inefficient and unproductive operation. They are focused on making excuses or just getting callers off-the-line, instead of  satisfying one caller at a time. Yes, properly handling an incoming call takes time and is the ultimate proof of genuine caring.  It also means that callers will be on hold longer, in other words, you need more reps standing by.

I get it. So what happens if we have a slow day or if we hire more customer service reps and we find that we don't need them? All valid concerns that are unfortunately based on misguided thought; focus on the customer not on how much you must invest in order to provide exceptional service. Happy customers come back. Simple.

If you've been at an airport security checkpoint, you saw an example of 'load-balancing' in action; as soon as the line gets beyond a certain point a new lane is opened. Similarly, if you're rushed by incoming calls, have everyone in the company answer calls, not with a purpose of putting customers on hold, but with full intention of resolving the call to the satisfaction of the caller.

If you're in business, every employee should be trained to answer customer service or sales calls.

Look at your data. All VoIP (Voice Over IP) phone systems log the behavior of callers. Run the report and it will show you average on-hold, hang-ups, transfers to "0" etc. Remember, for every vocal complaint about excessive on-hold, there are multiple hang ups that simply mean "I will not do business with you again".

If my call is important to you, don't make me wait. Period.

My number role about business is to never, ever, give any customer a reason to think about leaving. What's yours?