Customer and Client Communications
Customer and client communications are very dear to good business-customer service and relations. Problems have arose because technology can reduce personnel needs. But is it at the expense of customers. Are sales and customers lost ?
You call a business and someone comes on, a recording usually, and asks you to punch a number and someone will be with you. If you were not expecting it, then you must listen to a repeat of three to five numbers. To me these are very irritating, so I punch the number for a “live operator.” When that puts me on hold for more than a reasonable time, I hang up and search for an email address to customer service, and use that line of communication. Or I just hang up and forget it. The company loses.
Another one is a foreign voice that you have trouble understanding. I called a computer company and the next thing I know I am talking to a foreign voice. Now I don’t care where the person is from, but I do expect English that I can understand, and the person to be knowledgeable. This person was likely in India, or some other similar place, and I could hear a person in the background telling him what to say. From a business point of view that should not be acceptable. Very irritating. In that case there was an email address for the president of the company so I sent him a note explaining what I did not like about such service. I got it off my chest and maybe he learned about something he did not know about before.
You call a company, or local retail business, and they put you on hold. Someone eventually answers, and maybe not. Frustrated you hang up. Such little care for a customer drives people away. I even detest a doctors office doing that, and unless it a must call I just hang up. If it is a local business, I may go to another store and get what I need. If it is a doctors office I may go by when I am near their office and take care of whatever it is.
Most residents do not have a FAX machine and so cannot use it. Yet even in a business using a FAX machine should be for sure information sent or received, and not to find out information, unless it can be done explicitly in a brief form. Response time can vary, however, a FAX does provide a record if it is ever needed.
Customer service through email can be very good. Detailed questions can be sent, and replied to in detail, thus satisfying the customer. Yet a surprising number of company web sites have no customer service email possibility, nor even a phone number. The latter are not interested in customer service, or a flag is raised that this is one man operation that can be good or bad, but which one may not want to do business with. Emails do provide a record if needed if needed by either party.
Customer communications should be for the convenience of the customer, focused on his needs, quick service, and with service that matches good individual customer interest. Most businesses realize the need for continual advertising, yet some do not seem to realize that they need to supply good customer service via a telephone or other quick method.
Typically business telephone calls should not take more than five minutes of a customers time, if that long.
And businesses need to do a survey, or otherwise determine what their customer service is losing them in sales, and in customers. There is hardly a product or service that cannot be found elsewhere, and when found it may prove to better, so the customer can be lost for good.
Successful businesses today should make sure that their customers are attended to with the customers interest foremost. If they do not then they may lose business to the multitude of competitors hungry for their customers.