19 March 2020

Pandemic 2020: The telephone is your most powerful business tool right now

Expert comment
The COVID-19 outbreak is creating challenges for everyone – and one thing all consumers are craving is information.

As face-to-face contact diminishes and increasing numbers of staff begin to work remotely, you may think it will be difficult to keep them connected. Yet there’s one key method of communication that works hard to keep everyone informed: the phone.

In a world of email, social media, chatbots and more, it can be easy to dismiss the traditional telephone, but it remains a cornerstone method of contact for the vast majority of consumers – particularly in the current climate. By understanding what makes the phone so valuable to a business – and maximising every communication opportunity it presents – you’ll strengthen your relationship with your customers for the long term.


It delivers the personal touch

There’s no denying that now is a confusing time – and more than ever before, customers need a level of reassurance from the companies they rely on. It’s in this facet that the phone remains unrivalled by any method of written communication. Nothing delivers trust like the human voice, and in a time when everyone will experience some level of self-isolation, it’s a valuable way of maintaining the personal touch within your service. And in a world where the situation can change by the hour, it offers a timely response that gives customers instantaneous comfort in the fact their query has been acknowledged.

While you may think this all comes from the individual on the other end of the line, these feelings of trust can also be built in an On-Hold Marketing production – making the most of a communication channel you may not be aware existed. Audio productions created to play during the time a caller is waiting to be connected or transferred can provide essential information to callers with a calming, reassuring human voice – and can be efficiently updated to reflect every change in the business. With calls to companies no doubt set to rise, a production like this plays a vital role in keeping them engaged and informed while staff work to handle their call – working to enhance communications and customer perceptions of care.


It’s always accessible

For the majority of us, a smartphone is always by our side – 96% of Americans, to be specific (Pew Research Center). This means we’re now more likely than ever to search out company phone numbers online, and use click to call features – particularly when a query is urgent. And with this ease comes increased call traffic.

89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives

In this new world of increased remote working, the cell or mobile phone has also taken on greater significance as a company representative’s sole means of contacting a customer. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that this personal tool offers the same levels of professionalism as a landline would – and a Business Voicemail production can ensure these high standards are maintained.

On top of this, creating an Out-of-Hours production enhances accessibility all the further by reducing lost enquiries. When staff are unavailable, this message can provide alternative contact details or update them on reduced opening hours – giving customers the vital information they need to get in touch.


It gives you a greater understanding of your customer’s needs

Right now, a customer query may be more complex than usual – and the phone is key in gaining the clarity you need to solve it. While quickly drafted emails can be easily misconstrued, voice-to-voice service allows for clarifying questions and a real, time-sensitive focus on the resolution. And if there is a wait to be connected to the service provider, the useful information provided in an On-Hold Marketing production works to reduce perceived waiting time and may even answer the questions they have before they’re connected.

When gaining understanding of a complex customer issue, it’s important to ensure they’re put through to the right person. 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives (Accenture), but by introducing an Auto Attendant production that offers a clear series of connections options, callers can be directed to the right person, first time.


It delivers the best first impression

Often, a customer’s first interaction with a company is down the line – and current circumstances may lead an individual to pick up the phone to you where they may not have done before. 73% of callers say they won’t do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled effectively, so getting this right first time is key to forging those all important long-term relationships.

On top of this, a professional greeting and options can be delivered in an Auto Attendant production, creating a strong first impression at the start of every call, and introducing an opportunity to convey vital information that you need every customer to know.


It strengthens your brand identity

In times like these, it can be easy to forget about an overall marketing or branding strategy – but this identity is vital to the longevity of your business. And when other forms of advertising may not be possible, the quality of your caller experience directly impacts the perception of your brand.

There are simple and effective measures you can take to perfect this experience too: introducing an engaging and informative On-Hold Marketing production, effective greeting and connection with an Auto Attendant, and an Out-Of-Hours message that never misses an enquiry. All this works away in the background while your staff operate remotely – and the on brand voice, copy and music they consist of further reinforce your distinct business identity.

As we can see, the telephone is a communication tool you can rely on to make a valuable difference to your business – now more than ever before.


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