Greeting customers. Aaaaah, that crucial first impression and what to do with it. Before we get started with the how, what, and why, let's take a step back… Ask yourself, what is your sole purpose in your contact center? To make your customer happy? To drive revenue? The answer to this question should be a cornerstone to drive home the importance of the customers experience from the moment they connect with your company – over any channel!
Doesn’t that mean you should treat them as you would want to be treated? As though they matter, because they do! As though you “know” them – because you can! As though you care - because you do! So, how? In our view there are 5 key elements to a proper phone greeting type and experience that determine a customer mindset for the entire rest of their interaction with your company. Let’s get started.
- Give a warm, professional welcome. A warm, professional welcome, including a thank you, will help drive confidence from the start. This opens your customer to a mindset of accepting help to address their need and easing the potential frustration they may have as they pick up that phone! But remember, warm taken too far can be perceived as generally insincere.
- Include the right information, quickly. There are a few key elements here… in addition to the above, include your company name (i.e. yes, you called the right place), and, please, give them a way out! This should be simple human understanding, but how many times have you been caught in IVR jail? And what do you do next? I hang up! So, be nice, tell them who you are, give them information (i.e. how long is their wait – honesty is the best policy), and help them quickly! But what if you can’t, what if you are past service levels, and the calls are just rolling in? Offer your customer a callback if the wait time is too long – or even educate them on other service options such as web or mobile.
- Use the right voice. There is an abundance of research out there on selecting the right voice. Is it male or female? Does it differ based on your intent? Industry? Most research will tell you that female voices are typically preferred due to pitch and inflection. They are perceived as being more soothing, making customers more comfortable, and therefore more trusting. Have you ever noticed that most digital assistants use a female voice? Think that’s a coincidence? Think again! People have a higher trust factor that the technology is there to help them solve their problems or assist in some other manner.That said, it’s not a hard and fast rule. When should you use male voice over female? Typically, people associate men’s voices with being more neutral, or authoritative for example when delivering information. That might explain why we hear them commonly for instructional videos or reviewing facts. So, be sure to balance the common direction to a female voice with preferences in your own industry, and those associated with your brand. Drive an educated decision and you are sure to have success!
- Use time wisely. So you, or your customer, has determined they would like to hold until an agent becomes available. Perfect! Hold time gives you a captive audience. Don’t waste it with music on hold. This is one place you can include promotional information, or better yet, how about helpful information – like how to get your new mobile app and what they can do there, maybe an option to opt in for your SMS tips and techniques monthly broadcast, or just some simple guidance on caring for their newly purchased <insert product name here>. There are so many ways to convert hold time from exasperating to exhilarating!
- Earn your extra credit! (It’s actually pretty easy). Have a few versions… and voices… of your phone greeting types. If your customers call frequently you can change up the recordings to keep things more interesting for your audience… use time of day, season, or other small changes to keep it fresh and real.
But now that you have them, what next? The experience doesn’t end here… be sure you check out our agent training and etiquette tips.