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Communicating with your customers in unprecedented circumstances
8th April 2020, 6:00 pm
At Moneypenny, we’ve been looking after business calls for more than 2 decades – we’ve lived through downturns, uplifts and a changing landscape. But the environment the world is currently operating in is unprecedented and impossible to prepare for. That’s why we want to do everything we can to help as many small businesses as possible to understand how they can manage their customer communications best at this challenging time.
A couple of months ago, we conducted a research project looking at the ways we communicate with businesses. The results proved that the humble phone call remained the most popular – with 56% of businesses citing it as their most valuable channel today.
There are a number of reasons attributed to phone calls still being king for so many businesses, with three of the biggest reasons stated by business owners, as;
Urgency – “My query is really important and time-sensitive, I need it answering right now”.
Complexity – “My query is complicated, I want to explain my specific issue and gain clarity”.
Sensitivity – “My query is of a sensitive nature or requires empathy; I want a human to reassure me”.
Our survey found that our respondents receive 34% more calls now than they did 5 years ago, and you can stake your house on the fact that percentage would have increased significantly in the past month. In uncertain times, we return to what we know best – we want human connection, we want confidence we’re being listened to and understood, we want to talk.
In our own business, we have seen call volumes rocket. And live chat volumes have subsequently dropped as customer queries have just got more urgent, complex and sensitive in . this current climate.
The question for businesses is how do they adapt to this new way of communicating in a rather alien situation. We always say customers are precious, and they’re even more so now. Prioritising their needs over your own is key to maintaining their custom over the next few months, or winning them back afterwards.
We’ve spoken with hundreds of businesses, after experiencing unprecedented demand for our own business continuity solutions and here are the main things we’ve witnessed many currently trying:
Go it alone
Divert the business number to your mobile, take messages and pass them on to colleagues.
It’s certainly budget-friendly but can be hard to manage with one call taker and a large team to field to especially if you don’t have staff at home focused on more administrative tasks. It is also not conducive to productive home-working, or any semblance of work-life balance, when you’re left juggling calls and potentially have young kids vying for your attention,
Invest in cloud tech
Divert the business number to a virtual phone system and triage calls between remote team members directly.
A much more balanced way of working from home; a virtual phone system enables you to transform your mobile into a fully-fledged business system. Using a professional auto-attendant setting, you can manage calls more effectively and route callers through to specific team members or departments. This enables teams to share call volumes and prevent calls from being missed or hitting your voicemail.
Use an answering service
Divert engaged or unanswered calls to virtual PA as and when you need.
A call answering service can offer respite to homeworkers struggling with work-life balance. It also offers flexible support, at a time when flexibility is vital given the changeable environment businesses are operating in. Choose to overflow your calls to a professional PA, as and when you need; when you’re busy, after office hours, or during weekends. Or opt for fully-outsourced calls while you focus on the core activities at hand.
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