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Localphone International Calling: Rates and Features For Business

Localphone

Localphone aims to make things easier and more affordable for people using phone lines for business. Ease and affordability are the main benefits of the VoIP phone number, in addition …Read More »

Zoiper Softphone Not Working? How To Fix

Zoiper Softphone Not Working

Do you pay for Zoiper softphone for your commercial business to reach local or international clients? Is your Zoiper softphone not working? If so, you’re not alone. Here at Global …Read More »

Best Sales Strategy for an International Finance Bank

Best Sales Strategy for International finance Bank

Do you work as part of the marketing department for an international finance bank? Whether you’re employed by a national finance company or corporation bank, boosting sales through optimized advertising …Read More »

How To Improve Lead Generation Services with Virtual Numbers

lead generation with virtual phone numbers

Growing your business is directly linked to the strength of your lead generation services. With no new leads, your company must rely on a well-established customer base. This is something …Read More »

What Makes a Good Customer Service Agent

what makes a good customer service agent?

As you may be aware, competent call center customer service agents are hard to find. And it’s no wonder, as dealing with the needs of customers can be a daunting …Read More »

What is Cloud Telephony and How Does It Work?

What is Cloud Telephony

In this article, we’ll take a look at one of the most recent advancements to the telecommunications industry, cloud telephony and cover how it works. Then, we’ll provide readers with …Read More »

Earning the Trust of Your Customers

Earning the Trust of Your Customers: Why It’s a Long-Term Investment


Accountability Why Your Business Needs It

Accountability: Why Your Business Needs It


Trust and Security in the Workplace

Key Steps to Creating an Environment of Trust and Security in the Workplace


Building Credibility When You're Fresh Out of College

Building Credibility When You’re Fresh Out of College


Building Trust with your Team

Giving Proper Credit to Employees and Building Trust


Using a Toll Free Number Business Woman

Secrets of Using a Toll Free Number to Boost Your Business Calls


Building a Professional Name for Yourself

Building a Professional Name for Yourself: Why Credibility is so Important


Sounding Professional When Customers Call

Sounding Professional When Customers Call Your Business


Your Toll Free Number Could Be Trending

Your Toll Free Number Could Be Trending


Toll Free Numbers for Social Media Marketing

Toll Free Numbers for Social Media Marketing


10 Things You Should Never Say During a Customer Service Call

10 Things You Should Never Say During a Customer Service Call


Increase Your Sales with a Business Phone Number

5 Ways to Increase Your Sales with a Business Phone Number


Problem Solving

Effective Problem Solving to Build Customer Confidence


Digital Footprint Business Online Presence

What You Should Know About Your Online Presence


Toll Free Number is Boring Woman on Phone

Your Toll Free Number is BORING – Here’s How to Fix It


Earn a Reputation Diversity Employment Jobs

How to Earn a Reputation Based on Credibility in Your Industry


Why Does My Business Need A Toll Free Number?

A toll free number is a number that allows business professionals in companies of all sizes to connect with customers. These numbers are virtual, meaning that it doesn’t require additional hardware to function or expensive packages for set up. Toll free calls are also free for the incoming caller.

Before purchasing toll free numbers, the first question business owners often ask is: Why does my business need a toll free number? The short answer is your business needs a toll free number because these numbers are critical for appealing to customers and increasing sales.

Having a toll free number indicates to customers that you are professional and value customer service, and you look forward to being of assistance because you’ve made your business easy to reach. Furthermore, toll free numbers can be made even more memorable than a traditional phone if paired with a vanity line.

Want more info on why your business needs a toll free number? Here are some additional facts that explain the importance of toll free numbers for businesses.

Why does my business need a toll free number if I don’t have a large company?

When you dial a toll free phone number to connect with a business, what do you envision? Typically, a large company filled with professionals. Even if this isn’t the case, your professionalism will outweigh the fact that you’re a startup business. Your customers won’t consider that you may be working from home, which is a good thing because they will be more willing to learn about your services and give you a chance to prove that your business services are worth the investment.

Why does my business need a toll free number if I can use my cell phone instead?

Before doing business with your company, most customers will question if your company is trustworthy and an ethical business, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with other companies in the past. A toll free number is just one little facet that adds to your credibility.

Additionally, there are multiple things customers will look for to determine your credibility, including your website, online ratings, and what’s being said about your business on social media. It’s highly likely that a potential customer will be more inclined to buy from you if you have favorable online results.

Yet, positive reviews may not be enough if your personal cell phone number or a long-distance number is provided as your business contact information. Sharing your personal phone number is considered unprofessional – not to mention that it can put your personal information at risk.

Furthermore, most customers will be discouraged from paying to make a phone call to a business, so a toll free number just makes sense in all of these scenarios.

lady cellphone
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100179846266

If I’m relocating, why does my business need a toll free number?

Callers prefer a business rooted in stability. A toll free number gives you the freedom to relocate at any given time without alerting your customers. If you’re traveling, forward your toll free number to your cell phone or destination location. The call forwarding feature maintains a level of consistency, which keeps callers from focusing on your personal endeavors and on your business services instead.

If marketing is my main focus, why does my business need a toll free number?

Business owners using toll free numbers often recommend them because they help customers meet their business goals.

When you are marketing your business, it’s likely that you will be using multiple advertising forms including the internet, print publications, and local directories. Each avenue of marketing is likely to attract a different type of customer. Some marketing outlets could bring you more business than others, while some may not be worth the investment.

The only way to know the best marketing strategies for your company is by tracking each campaign. Tracking various marketing techniques can be done easily with a toll free number by assigning multiple toll free numbers to each marketing campaign. The phone number that receives the most calls will let you know the advertisements that are most effective.

Why does my business need a toll free number to be more competitive?

The costs of relocating are expensive and require a large investment of time. Toll free numbers eliminate the need to physically relocate to conduct business in certain regions. Some business owners may purchase only one toll free number, but purchasing multiple toll free numbers is recommended. Testing various numbers allows companies to find the messaging that best resonates with clients – especially when connecting toll free numbers with a vanity phone number.

Remember to research your vanity keywords before purchasing them. Your first choice may be catchy, but a similar idea may already be in use by a competitor. This can be confusing to customers and decrease your sales if new callers reach out to another company by mistake.

Review other numbers that are already in use. Then, find unique keyword phrases that will inspire consumers to call your business.

Note: Know that your toll free number will never be passed on to another business. Once you buy a toll free phone number, it will be yours exclusively, so there’s no need to worry about your business calls being redirected to another company in the future.

Improve Your Call Center Productivity With Call Recording

Improving call center productivity will require knowing your employees and customers on a deeper level. You may have customer service employees on payroll, but are they well-trained? Maybe they are, but their experience may be in a field completely unrelated to your business. At the same time, some team members might want additional training and input, but may be afraid to ask directly.

Whatever the case may be, business owners can use call recording to break the ice with employees while helping them to better assist customers. Caller behavior can also be complex, but it’s equally important to understand caller preferences.

Consider these four additional benefits as you focus on maximizing your productivity and achieving set goals at your call center.

Motivate Employees

Make call recording part of the training process and review calls with employees on an individual basis. As you discuss methods of improvement, acknowledge their strengths and contributions. This will inspire confidence and paint a clearer picture of how to communicate with customers.

There’s another benefit that’s often forgotten when you improve your call center productivity with call recording. As employees strive to be better, knowing that their calls are being recorded encourages staff to give it their all and do a commendable job.

Micromanagement tends to have a negative impact on employees, but when call recording is part of the supervisory process, it eliminates the tension that can build when managers are directly questioning and overseeing employees.

Learn More About Your Callers

How do customers respond when asked specific questions? What is their reason for choosing specific products more frequently than others? These are the types of questions to consider as you perfect your business strategy because you’ll want to ensure that you’re attracting your target callers and properly connecting with them over the phone.

If you want to improve call center productivity with call recording, use the recordings to compile data that will answer a lot of the questions that will help you to set future sales goals and craft more efficient approaches when speaking on the phone.

call center productivity
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100228680930

Answer Frequently Asked Questions

You can improve your call center productivity with call recording because the recordings can be used to create customized greetings and voice menus that give callers the answers they need.
There are frequently asked questions at every call center. Knowing what those questions are in advance will increase productivity by saving time. Use the playback from recorded calls to find the most frequently asked questions. Then, find the best way to answer those questions automatically.

Responses to frequently asked questions can be posted as information on your website and answered in customized messages that customers will hear while on hold. However, these aren’t the only options. Another approach would be to have an interactive voice menu that allows callers to select a number to hear the answers to frequently asked question such as operating hours and extension information to reach specific departments.

Know that as you work to improve your call center productivity with call recording, setting up an automated system isn’t complicated when using virtual phone numbers. Much of the process can be self-guided. Your virtual phone number provider can also walk you through the setup process from start to finish if you need assistance, or the process can be completed for you upon request.

While some business owners believe that pre-recorded menus are too impersonal, the contrary is often true. Automated options and responses are valued by customers because many callers don’t want to wait to connect with someone just to ask a basic question.

Note The Length of Calls

One of the biggest things call center supervisors must recognize when analyzing call center productivity is how long it takes before the call ends favorably. This information is critical because it will help employees who may be struggling to build relationships with callers. When you improve your call center productivity with call recording, it removes much of the guesswork involved with selling techniques and interacting with customers.

As most call center professionals know, working at a call center does not mean simply taking phone calls. There are other strategies that employees should be implementing to ensure that their time is utilized wisely during their shift. Decreasing the amount of time it takes to end a phone call with positive results gives employees the time they need to handle other tasks.

In Conclusion

Using virtual phone numbers to operate and grow your business will provide numerous advantages for internal business operations and callers. Furthermore, you can vastly improve your call center productivity with call recording.

Managing or working at a call center isn’t an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult if you use the right tools. Knowing the right ways to improve call center productivity while having a well-organized business structure can make the job easier for managers and employees.

Call centers operate for a variety of reasons, but their common focus is attracting new callers and maintaining customer loyalty. By increasing productivity, callers will have a more favorable experience when dialing into your caller center without a long wait or confusing process.

Understanding a Bionic Business

At the end of the 19th century, during the onset of the Industrial Revolution, people were just beginning to understand the complexity of financial capital and how it grows. Business leaders gradually began to realize that when managed properly, capital can accelerate a company’s growth and give them a competitive edge.

As the 20th-century dawns, two further forms of capital became important; human capital (the equity garnered from the employment of workers) and natural capital (water, land, and other environmental resources). Fast-forward to the 21st century, where the rapid development of technology has caused three additional forms of capital to become essential for increasing business value. These are:

  • Behavior capital: This involves the collection, collation, and analysis of information to yield valuable insights about a business and its systems. Sources of data are wide ranging. For example, customer surveys, The Internet of Things, and customers’ real-time behavior. This information can be used to generate digital models of activity to show how business systems, people, and machines have behaved in the past and to predict how they will behave in the future. This data can then be used to influence that behavior. It can also be used to reduce risk and errors.
  • Cognitive capital: This involves the automation of cognitive processes. Over time, most businesses establish a great deal of practical knowledge and information. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, that knowledge can be transferred to software or AI systems which can use it on a vast scale. It allows the business to expand its services and responsibilities and it adds great value to the company.
  • Computer simulation: This is a perfect example. This allows a business owner to set up a digital simulation of his or her company and use it to make predictions or see the effects
    of decisions. For example, the owner of a plant nursery could use the simulation to test
    the effects of using a soaker system during dry season. The simulation can be tweaked
    to see how a company can best make it through challenging situations. This information
    can then be applied to the real-world company.
  • Network capital: A company is a central hub which connects to customers, workers, advertisers, and media. With the emergence of the Internet, the value of network capital increased significantly. The main reason for this is the fact that networking via the Internet takes different forms of communication and has a much greater reach than ordinary broadcast networks. Internet networking is also a much more interconnected process.
robot hand
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100095045118

How To Give Your Company a Bionic Breakthrough

Here are some ways in which you can transform your company into a bionic business.

  • Shift your business model: Replace your supply chain business strategy with one which is based on providing your customers with products and services they demand as efficiently as possible. A customer-driven business is one which focuses mainly on the customers. For it to work, you have to gather as much information as you can on your customers and develop products and services based on that data. For example, how can you address your customers’ needs, how can you make them happy, how can you exceed their expectations? The mantra of this type of business is that it can only thrive if the customers are happy. Therefore, you have to be committed to combining high-quality goods with excellent customer service.
  • Shift your approach: Replace your operational approach to information with a fluid system in which knowledge and data can be shared and collaborated on. Many businesses are far too rigid. This means that they are not agile or adaptive enough to make the most of current innovations. On the other hand, businesses which are more fluid can share knowledge within the business system and use innovations to bring positive changes to the company.
  • Shift your position: Replace your competitive position based on a level environment of competitors to a tiered system in which you can dominate the field. Making your company a winner-takes-all business means that you become a top player and take the majority of the share or rewards in your area of business relative to your competitors.

Once you understand the basics of a bionic of business, you can begin to implement them into your company, giving you a significant edge over your competitors. Becoming bionic includes adopting new processes, making technological changes, and it creates great new opportunities. Your business will develop better strategies, model customer individual behavior, change your innovation cycle, improve your decision-making processes, and attract more customers.

As a bionic company, you will know your individual customers so well that you will be able to tailor your products and services to each one using the latest software and AI. This will encourage your customers to keep returning to you and swiftly pass by your competitors.

How To Keep Your Customers Close

In these days of rapidly changing, competitive business markets, customer retention is crucial to business success. The way you treat your customers, could, in fact, be one the of the key factors which differentiate you from your competitors. Here is a rundown on some of the best strategies for keeping your customers close no matter what type of business you run.

Reward your customers: Loyal customers deserve something in return. Send them a gift, offer them a discount, make purchasing with your company a continuously pleasurable experience. If they are business owners, give them a lead.

Use their services: If your customers are business owners too, use their services or buy their products. This is a great way to build loyalty.

Show your thanks: Make sure you show your appreciation to loyal customers by sending them a thank you note on a regular basis.

lady holding shirt
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100213196672
  • Be prompt: Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to returning calls. Call your customers back as soon as you can.
  • Be true to your word: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you state you’re going to do something, do everything possible to follow through.
  • Don’t be tardy: Always do something when you said you were going to do it. If, for some reason, you can’t stick to the arranged schedule, let your customer know as soon as possible.
  • Be accessible: Show your customers that you are always available if they need to communicate with you. You should always be open to meeting with your customers if they wish to see you.
  • Be trustworthy: It’s important that you establish your credibility straight away. Otherwise, potential customers will drift over to your competitors.
  • Stay in touch: Bear in mind that your best customers are the ones you have now. Don’t take them for granted. Stay abreast of their wants and needs.
  • Be able to apologize: Sometimes things unavoidably go wrong. Always be ready to apologize but saying sorry isn’t enough. Have a gift you can send to customers when you make a mistake.
  • Make business a pleasure: Make it easy and pleasurable for your customers to do business with you. Make sure your business practices are for the convenience of the customer, not just your own. The more enjoyable it is for customers to do business with you, the more business you will have.
  • Get to know your customers: A great way to do this is to set up a customer advisory team. The team can collect and collate information about your customers’ needs and wants so that you can develop a more customer-oriented business.
  • Be a solid resource: Whatever your customer needs, make sure you can get it. This applies even if it is something unconnected to your business.
  • Speak your customers’ language: Don’t fall into the trap of using jargon or terms that your customers will not understand. Keep things simple without talking down to them.
  • Maintain a good attitude: Always be kind and patient with your customers, this will increase customer loyalty. Never be indifferent towards them.
  • Maintain a mobile state of mind: Remember, these days, customers interact with businesses on mobile devices more frequently than ever. Make sure that you provide your customers with a positive mobile experience.
  • Offer limited time promotions: This is a good way to keep customers coming back, especially if you’re discounting products that they buy frequently. You can highlight promotions at the checkout stage.
  • Stay social: Social media offers unique platforms for staying in touch with your customers. You can keep them posted about sales and special offers, as well as new products and services. You can also get feedback from them.
  • Engage relevantly: Your company must be able to engage relevantly with your customers. Otherwise, your brand will be letting you down. For example, in the case of cart abandonment, you can send a follow-up email to encourage the customer to complete the purchase and also set up recommendations for future purchases.
  • Celebrate occasions: Don’t just celebrate holidays with your customers, try to find out when their birthdays are, even if you are in different parts of the world. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are also good times of the year to send a personal note if your customers are parents. As well as a note, a gift card is a nice sign of appreciation.
  • Create a VIP program: Achieving status can be a big motivator for customers. A VIP program enables customers to collect loyalty points and use them to get special offers. Because buying products increases customer rewards, your customers will do business with you more often; they are more likely to shop.

Developing close relationships with your customers is something you should be thinking about 24/7. There are many opportunities for you to strengthen the bonds between new and existing customers. It’s good for business, and it’s good for morale. Try these tips, and you can’t go wrong when building a strategy that keeps your customers as the top priority.

Manning the Phones: How to Create an Effective Customer Service Strategy

A chief role of managers and customer service employees is knowing how to create a good experience for their customers. As a business owner, it is essential that you develop a strong customer service strategy that your employees can easily navigate and understand. This strategy should effectively incorporate key points that will take your customer service to the next level.

The goal of any business is to expand and create the most profits, and the best way to make this happen is to provide excellent customer service. Your goals as a company should include an effective customer service strategy. Begin this strategy by employing a strong management team that is skilled in leadership, communication, and service. Once you have a strong team, you can begin to develop your customer service strategy.

1. Set goals

Before you can work on a plan, you must compile a list of goals that you wish your business to achieve. Once you have figured out what you want to see from your company, you can begin to map out a plan to execute the plans. Share your vision of the future of the company with your employees so that they can keep your goals in mind when carrying out tasks.

2. Determine the wants of your customer

Frequently, a business will fail because the owners were unable to understand what the customer wanted. Businesses will assume that they know better than what their customers want and then provide them with a product that won’t sell. Your business needs to have a plan in place that will allow customers to express their opinions freely. To set this plan in motion, begin by initiating communication with the customer. This can be done through feedback surveys, comment cards, and focus groups.

3. Improve your hiring process

Customer service employees should be adequately screened and vetted with the customer in mind. The agents that you hire should encompass many traits, including empathy, excellent communication skills, patience, problem-solving skills, and a keen ability to stay positive when dealing with a negative customer. All agents can be trained for certain things, but you can’t teach someone to have a different personality.

customer service
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100220944524

4. Measure your results

Now that you know what the customer is looking for and you have a team that can effectively communicate, you can begin to create small goals to improve your customer service strategy even more over time. An example of a more modest goal instead of an overall vision is to answer calls within a specific timeframe. These small goals will help you achieve your bigger goals and overall vision in time. Be sure that your employees are aware of these new goals so that they can be held accountable for delivering that same high level of quality. If you find that a goal isn’t quite achievable, you can work backward and find out what is stopping your team from being able to reach their goals.

5. Ensure all employees undergo a thorough training process

Although you already hired a stellar staff with all of the qualities that your business needs in a customer service agent, you still need to deliver consistent service. The best way to stay consistent with your customers is by training all of your employees thoroughly and regularly. Train your employees on product knowledge, frequently asked questions, and provide them with a set of guidelines to follow for each phone call. Be sure that your staff is always up on current standards by using call recording to capture missed details, learn additional information about customers, and to improve the quality of every call.

6. Accountability

Your agents and managers should be held to a standard of consistency and quality. Practice regular performance reviews and be sure to share with your employees the customer service data so that they can see the fruits of their labor.

7. Reward your employees

When your employees are continually adhering to quality standards and surpassing goals, they should be rewarded for their efforts. All work and no play can create gloom in the workspace. People work better with positive reinforcement, and you will want to keep the people who deal with your customers directly to always be in a positive headspace. Prioritize a work/life balance with your employees and provide perks. Organize a happy hour with your customers, encourage a casual Friday, or reward your employees with an ice cream social or pizza party for lunch. Showing your employees that you appreciate them never has to break the bank, and any effort you make to recognize them for their service will result in a positive response.

This is How Customer Service is Done Best

What can you do to gain loyal customers, expand your business, and increase your earning potential? Upgrade your customer service. A skilled customer service team knows how to engage with their customers, problem-solve, and is empathetic to others’ queries.

Customer service is one of the most critical pieces of your business as a whole because your customer service team makes up the face of your company. They are the ones that you are trusting to interact with your customers face-to-face, over the phone, and online. Many loyal customers are created through positive customer service interaction. Therefore, your agents need to be trained in the best ways to serve your clients.

Top businesses know this to be true, and your business can compete with others by following these tips.

1. Humanizing Traits

Your customers want to speak to another human that can listen and answer their questions, but the humans that you hire as your representatives need to embody many skills. Empathy and patience are necessary skills to have when a customer is angry. Your agents must also be able to adapt to every customer, and they should be able to handle your clients’ varying moods, questions, compliments, and complaints.

2. Good Communication

The overarching skill that representatives need is communication skills. This means that your agents can express clearly and intelligently what they want to say. They should stay positive, but not overly so. All customer service agents need to understand what they are selling. If your agents do not understand the product on day one, there should not be a day 2 in their future without further training.

3. Strong Work Ethic

Your agents should be confident in their abilities, embody time management skills, and be able to focus on multiple things at once. A strong customer service agent is also aware of how long they have been on the phone with one customer when they have others waiting. Prioritizing is a top skill you need to look for in your representatives.

customer service
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100177914106

4. Handling Criticism

Unfortunately, a big part of the job is dealing with negative customers. Many times, a customer is so frustrated with a product or wait time, that by the time they get to speak to an agent they are fired up and ready to attack. Your agents should have thick skin and be aware that the customer’s anger has nothing to do with them.

5. Record Calls

The best way to train your team is to show them exactly how a call should go, and should not go. Call recording is a useful feature that Global Call Forwarding offers and it can help your business to ensure that the right skills are exhibited on every phone call.

6. Relate to Customers

Your representatives should be able to find common ground with every customer that they come into contact with. A great way to do this is for your agents to engage in active listening, that way they can truly understand where a customer is coming from and sympathize with their situation.

7. Follow-Up

A useful trick in customer service is to follow up after a query has been resolved. It ensures that your customer was indeed helped, and if they weren’t, they can now get the help that they need. Additionally, this can be done to let your customer know that their issue was important to your company and you are happy to see that they are happy and things are resolved. You can do this through a quick email or by reaching out with a feedback survey.

8. Personalize the Experience

If your company deals with several of the same clients, be sure to assign a customer service agent to each one so that they can get used to each other and form a bond. Treat your top customers and clients like they are important to you by sending them gifts or personalized emails. Also, invite your customers to trade shows, host webinars, and always interact with them on social media. Opening up this dialogue is also a way to learn what your customers would like to see from your business.

Awesome Skills of the Best Customer Service Agents

Customer service can be a difficult industry with a high turnover. But there are a few secrets that the best customer service agents use to stay friendly, clear, and knowledgeable when in communication with their customers. Whether your agents are using phone calls, social media, email, or all three, there are specific skills that every customer service agent should incorporate.

Each method of communication requires different customer service skills and some overlapping skills are needed throughout all three. If you are ready to start interviewing customer service agents or are looking to train up your staff, these fundamental skills are what you need to be on the lookout for.

1. Listening

Never interrupt your customer, even if you already know how to solve their problem. Listen to their entire complaint, then respond with your answers. If you miss an important detail from their complaint or question, then you cannot correctly solve their issue. Never assume you’ll know exactly what the customer will say.

2. Smiling

Smiling over the phone can convey a positive attitude in your voice. Although the person on the other end cannot see your face, they will be able to pick up on clues that you are smiling through the tone of your voice and the way that you are speaking. Use your judgment when using this tool. No one will appreciate you smiling through their problems when they want you to sympathize with them.

3. Acknowledgment

After you have listened to your customer’s entire question or complaint, don’t forget to let them know that you understand where they’re coming from and that you are happy to be helping them out. Again, customers want you to sympathize with their problems, as well as solve them. This is a humanizing trait that makes your company come off as caring and authentic.

call center
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100021814101

4. Mirroring

Mirroring is a way in everyday life to make other people comfortable and subconsciously show that you are listening and interested in what the other party is saying. It is a great tool to use on the phone, in person, or through text messaging as well. Watch how often you use this tool as mirroring a customer’s anger won’t do your company any favors.

5. Communication

Be upfront with your customer. In other words, don’t lie to your customer and say that they will be on hold for 30 seconds when it’s going to take 15 minutes. They will most likely hang up and be angry the next time they call you, if they decide to ever call again. This is an essential rule for all customer service agents. If the wait times are incredibly long and you don’t want to lose your customer, offer to call them back as a courtesy to save them from waiting.

6. Templates

Templates are like scripts for your agents to follow. However, instead of coming off as mechanical like an agent would if they were merely reading from a script, templates are more of a guideline. These guides can contain answers to commonly asked questions and other useful strategies to keep your agents from getting stuck.

7. Personality

When your agents use these helpful templates and guidelines, they should still be adding their own spin to them. Everyone’s personality is different, and when your customer agent shows off their unique personality, the advice and guidance they are giving comes off as more authentic.

8. Time Frames

When responding to email, chat, or social media, be sure to reply promptly. Chat and social media should be instant, while email has a slight leeway time. However, emails shouldn’t take that long because your customers might get concerned that you didn’t receive their message. Consider setting up an auto-response to emails letting your customers know that you received their email and will be responding with an answer to their inquiry in a suitable time frame.

9. Problem-Solving

Your customer service agents should know the questions that they need to ask their customers in order to get a complete story from them. Once they have all the facts, they need to be able to summarize the issues and come up with the best solution.

10. Skill Range

Your customer service agents should be able to handle a variety of customer service channels and be able to multitask. All agents should be trained in chat, phone service, and social media.

More than Just a Number: Why Your Toll Free Number is Essential to Your Business

Toll free numbers began gaining popularity in the 80s and 90s with almost every business because it was the simplest way to communicate with customers all over the country. Now, in the age of information and the internet, toll free numbers are still essential to have for your business and they remain popular with major companies all over the nation.

1-800 numbers were created in the 1960s as a way for businesses to connect to people all over the country without those people having to pay for making the call. Businesses began to realize the convenience of this service and started using toll free numbers to give their companies a convenient and free way to communicate with them. Eventually, toll free numbers became so popular that an additional six three-digit codes were added.

Customers Expect a Toll Free Number

Because of how popular toll free numbers have become, customers now expect that all businesses, even smaller ones, will have a toll free phone number that they can connect to, with zero cost to them. Toll free numbers aren’t just convenient for your customers. They are also essential to your business. When your company uses a toll free number, it increases your business’s credibility as well as heightening the possibility for customer loyalty. Having a dedicated toll free number for your company also allows you the ability to set business hours.

Your business could be losing customers not local to your area if you do not offer a toll free phone number. Toll free phone numbers allow customers from outside of your local area to reach your company, and if you don’t provide a toll free phone number, a customer outside of your neighborhood may decide not to use your company because they don’t believe that you will be able to deliver what they need.

For example, if you run a cake shop and are able to make deliveries all over the country but you only offer a local phone number, somebody looking to buy your cake in the next state over may bypass your company because they fear that your company would not be able to deliver to them. With all of the refrigeration delivery tools available, your business can most certainly deliver to them, but it is likely that these potential customers will not take the time to find out. You are potentially missing out on a lot of income when you only offer a way for certain people to get in contact with your business. It is essential for a growing business to increase their reach if the company is to be successful.

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Virtual Calling Made Simple

Another benefit to using toll free phone numbers for your company is that you can set up a line that is entirely virtual. This means that you don’t have to set up a new phone line, you can just use the business phone you already have or even a home line or cell phone. Virtual toll free numbers from Global Call Forwarding allow you to connect to several different lines so that you can work from anywhere. You can also set your hours, which means you won’t get calls forwarded to your personal line when you are off the clock. Instead, they can be sent to a customized voicemail, your email, or a fax machine so you can get back to your customers at a later time. The lines are also set up so you know whether you are getting a call from your personal or business line, that way you can guarantee you properly answer your phone. It is also completely secure. Your customers will have access to you, but they won’t know your personal phone line.

A Necessity for Advertising

Toll free numbers are also a great advertising tool, especially if you decide to purchase a vanity number. People find these vanity numbers like 1-800-FLOWERS to be much easier to remember than non-vanity numbers, and they can be placed on billboards, flyers, or your website as an easy way to market your business. These vanity numbers are great tools for lawyers and real estate agents, as well.

The bottom line is that having a toll free number proves to your customers that your business is worthy of their trust because you can provide them with a number that allows them to contact your company with no cost to them.

Games To Boost Call Center Morale and Engagement

Motivating your call center team can do wonders for your company. An easy and fun way to do this is by introducing games and activities that can be done in the workplace. After all, work doesn’t have to be boring. These games will encourage employees through competition, and you will see an improvement in company sales and overall workplace culture. Read on to learn about six simple games that your call center employees will love.

1. Pass the Ball

This game is reminiscent of a childhood game called “hot potato.” The premise is that your manager provides the team with a ball, it can be anything from a baseball to a blow-up beach ball. As long as the object is easily passable and catchable, the game will work. Each time an employee finalizes a sale, the ball is then passed to that employee. A timer is set up to go off different intervals and when the timer goes off the employee holding the ball will win a prize. So, the last person to make a sale when the timer goes off will be the winner.

2. Sports Agents

During huge sporting competitions, like March Madness, the Olympics, or the World Cup, your customer service agents can have a bit of fun by dividing up into teams. For example, during the Olympics, your employees can pick out of a hat different countries which will later become their teams. At the end of the Olympics, the country/team with the most medals will be the winner. This game is good for company morale, entertainment, friendly competition, and teamwork. Consider granting the winners a get-together so they can get to know each other better, or merely catering a fancy lunch for them the next time they come into work.

3. Bingo

Bingo is a classic game that anyone can play, but this way puts a “call center” twist on it. Since call center employees are constantly calling customers, the bingo cards would have different area codes all over the board. When an agent completes a call to that area code, they can they cross the number off. Once an agent completes calls to five area codes on the card in a row, that agent will win. This game will help your agents to become more competitive and boost efficiency.

4. Customers and Compliments

This is a very straightforward contest in which the agent who receives the most compliments from customers receive a nice reward. This can be instated as a year-round game, at the end of each month you can tally up the number of compliments each agent has received and then reward them with a gift. At the end of the year you can add up the compliments, and a winner can be chosen for an even larger prize. This game encourages your agents to be friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful regarding customer interaction.

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5. Battle Balls

This game is slightly similar to the Pass the Ball game, except the winner is not restricted to timing. At the beginning of the day, hand a ball to each one of your call center agents. Then throughout the day each time, an agent makes a sale they are allowed to get up and take a ball from another agent. At the end of the day, the agent with the most balls wins the prize. This is great for competition and a way to save money on rewards if you can’t afford to gift multiple awards throughout the day.

6. Hangman

The classic hangman game can be applied to your call center workforce. After a training session, the best way to quiz on retention is to split your employees into two teams and write down a series of questions that they just learned from the training. Each team writes down their answers, and each time a team gets a question wrong they add a piece to the hangman. Keep asking questions until one hangman is completed; then the other team will be claimed the victor. Hangman can help your employees retain more information and get a deeper understanding of the training they just went through.

These games are a great way to boost morale in your company, but it is best to check in with your upper management before bringing these games to your office. Some offices may not want their employees to engage in office games, but it is always a good idea to present this idea if it is not on the minds of upper management yet. Good luck and may the best call center agent win!

Streamlining the Vendor Selection Process

If you are looking to streamline the process in which you select your vendors, consider a Request for Proposal or RFP. An RFP is precisely what it sounds like, and it is a proposal that you can use to compare and contrast offers from a variety of different vendors. Once you are able to analyze your options, you can create a better picture of what is best for your business and for your customers.

Building Relationships with Vendors

Outside of RFPs, you can also have a more direct dialect with one or several vendors, whether that is in person or by reaching out through email or phone. When you build a relationship with a vendor, trust begins to burgeon, and you will start to feel more comfortable with the people who you are buying from and vice versa. These relationships help vendors to understand what their buyers want and need and therefore won’t need to offer a service that the buyers don’t need. This also allows buyers to narrow down their selections because they have already seen demonstrations. They can then move on towards comparing prices and quality.

Request for Information and Request for Quote

When you are interacting with your vendors, another way to approach the buying process is with a Request for Information and a Quote. These are less detailed reports of information that answer some frequently asked questions. This concise and to the point report is used to give enough information up front to where the buyer will then be able to ask informed questions and in return, get an informed response. These vendors target the specific needs of the buyer in question and then focus their energy on what the buyer has decided is important.

An even more concise report will come in the process called Request for Quote. RFQ is highly detailed and broken down by a list of the pricing of the object which includes things such as the number of licenses you will need and their prices. The RFQ works similarly to the Request for Information and a Quote because it’s the main focus to create communication between the buyer and the seller by allowing the buyer to ask questions and then receive a detailed response in return.

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Keep Your Options Open

Don’t forget that you can also “shop around.” The internet offers a large number of cloud solutions for your company, and the sites typically advertise everything that is provided and what the prices usually come out to be. Websites often have a chat option, or at least an email and phone number which you can use to get into contact with these vendors. Once in touch, you can then ask more questions and get an even better idea of the exact pricing. Usually, on websites, they are true to what they are selling and if a vendor does not seem to meet your needs, making a phone call is typically a waste of time. If they had the feature that you need, it would be advertised on the site. There is a blind trust in using the internet to select your vendors because it is likely you will never meet the seller in person, which is preferable for some and a turn-off for others.

So which one of these options should you choose for your business? Well, that depends on some different factors of your business. Is your company large in scale? That could mean you would need an RFP or sometimes you can get away with an RFI/Q. You must also weigh the risks and complexities of your business as well. Can you trust a source that you have never met or are you concerned about security and fraud?

However, if you have a smaller business or a more straightforward business plan, then you can easily find a cloud-based solution online. You can choose on your own time when you will carry out your internet research where you can compare and bid on different vendors. This flexibility is great for smaller businesses and offers simplicity for your process. Plus, because the website often advertises its standard offerings and pricing, you don’t have to guess which one might be better for your business.

No matter your business, take your time to consider the best vendor for it. It could take weeks to months of research, but it will be worth it to know that you’ve chosen the best vendor for your company.