Pick up the phone!

Pick up the phone!

March 26, 2014
Pick up the phone!

Email isn’t going anywhere. Your customers use it, and will continue to use it for the foreseeable future. So I’m in no way advocating that you get rid of it. In fact, a move like that would be a huge mistake.

What I am advocating is this: pick up the phone.

Here’s a scenario many support agents and managers will be familiar with. A customer emails you with a problem, creating a ticket. She doesn’’t give you enough information, so you write back with a question. Then she doesn’’t respond for two days. When she does, she still doesn’’t provide all of the information you need, so you request the additional information again. Two days later, she responds and you’’re now able to send her a possible solution. Then you never hear back about whether the solution worked, and the ticket remains open. Forever. Even if it doesn’’t, the resolution time for an issue that could have been solved in 5 minutes is now through the roof.

Now imagine that same scenario, but the ticket needs to be escalated. Not only does the resolution time go up, which often leads to low customer satisfaction, but the number of touch points on a relatively simple tickets skyrockets, further increasing time and resources that should be used for things like dealing with more difficult tickets or interacting with customers in your Help Center.

If your support team is experiencing the above scenarios, it’s a good indicator that you should probably be calling your customers more often, moving the conversation away from the back and forth of email and into the real time of a phone conversation, or even a chat session if they prefer. It’s an easier and quicker way to get answers, and you’ll resolve the issue with fewer touch points.

Even if it’s not your most heavily used channel, spend time training your team to give the best possible support on the phone. Read our guide, Customer Service Skills you Need, to learn more about soft skills that are specific to the phone.

The point is to make your customer’s experience better. Sometimes they don’t realize that a real time conversation is the best way to resolve their issue. They depend on you to make that call. So, go ahead and make that call!

At the Helm is a series for anyone who manages customer service professionals. These tips, best practices, and philosophies are designed to help you manage a team that is primed to give your customers the best possible service.

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