You could describe customer service as anything that a business or company does to take care of the needs of the customers or clients. This is a very broad definition, but it helps us better situate the role the telephone, and telephone conversations, plays in customer service. In fact, with this definition, the telephone is practically your best customer service tool period, and the ways that you and your company uses the telephone can determine whether or not you have good customer service.
Let’s look at a specific field as an example. When I go to a coffee shop, I am just as interested in having kind, courteous baristas helping me out, as I am interested in getting a great cup of coffee. Say this big coffee shop chain that I go to has a really nice manager that, whenever I talk to him or her, is very nice and makes sure that I feel welcome. That’s great! Unfortunately, the majority of the time, I am not speaking with the nice manager. Most of the time I am speaking to the baristas that serve so many customers in the day that they don’t have time to be kind to everyone and fix all of the great drinks. In this example, the baristas are your phone calls, and it should be very clear just how important of a customer service tool those phone calls are from this example.
Your phone calls are your front lines. Chances are, if a customer has a question, complaint, or comment, they are going to try and call the place first. As is suggested in the previous example, if they were to come in and talk to the manager, they would be pleased with the outcome. If they just call, though, they might reach an employee that is busy with other tasks required by their job and may not be able to fully dedicate their attention to the customer in need of service. This is not necessarily the employee’s fault. Just like the barista in the previous example, their job is just as focused on fixing the drink as it is on being kind to the customer and providing great service. They are unable to fully dedicate their attention to one or the other because both aspects are equally important.
This leads into an important way you can make sure your telephone is used to its full extent to provide quality customer service. In the coffee example, I would have been just as pleased if their was someone kind and courteous who was fully dedicated to providing customer service in addition to the employee that made sure I had an excellent drink. For every other company and business, this translates to hiring an employee solely dedicated to providing excellent customer service over the phone – that kind of person is also known as a receptionist. Receptionists are really essential for a company worried about its customer service presence. Receptionists are solely dedicated to providing customer service over the phone, so they won’t be distracted by other job demands. What’s more, they are trained to have answers ready for any customer question, and they should keep a positive cheerful attitude to let customers know they are welcome and valued. Receptionists often do have other parts to their job though, too. Receptionists are an excellent way to organize an office better as they can maintain a schedule, focus on keeping the workplace on task and in order, manage secretarial affairs that could bog down other employees, along with their primary task of responding to customer calls.
These descriptions of a receptionist really highlight the ways in which having one is so valuable, but it can also be costly. An in-house receptionist means another employee on the payroll that deserves benefits, time off, and so forth. Furthermore, an in-house receptionist works at the office, and they are at the mercy of the same stresses of everyone else in the company. That means they are just as likely to have a bad day and not make the customers feel welcome, like they are supposed to, as anyone else in the company. Fortunately, there are virtual receptionist services that can fix a lot of these problems. Virtual receptionist services, like Gabbyville, are cheaper, more sustainable, and a great option if you are worried about the previously mentioned concerns of hiring an in-house receptionist. Furthermore, a virtual receptionist never has a sick day, never has a stressful day, and does not involve those extra expenses that an in-house receptionist does. That’s because a virtual receptionist usually consists of a team of a few people fully dedicated to your business or company and providing all the benefits of an in-house receptionist without the negatives.
Whatever option you take, make sure to look at your phone differently. If you are not looking at your phone as the great customer service tool that it is, you are likely to see your customers going to another business.