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FreedomVoice vs Grasshopper Phone Number Provider, Service, and Pricing

Phones in the business realm aren’t going away anytime soon; instead, more and more businesses are populating as a result. But, with all of these providers, choosing among them to fit all of your needs is difficult. Additionally, competitive pricing is very important. Two of the top-rated VoIP phone service providers in the nation include Grasshopper and FreedomVoice. But, what are the differences between these two companies? And, which should you choose for your business phone service needs?

Pros of FreedomVoice as a Business Phone Provider

The most notable and highly reviewed aspects of FreedomVoice’s business VoIP application is that it’s easy to use. Since it doesn’t require any additional software, you can purchase the service, install it, and have it running in just a few minutes. Plus, once it is set up, most reviews note that the software application is quite easy to use and operate. Furthermore, you can pick and choose from any additional features you may need. And, set these up before you make your first call, right from your smartphone device. Some of these features include customizable greetings, simultaneous ringing, and call transferring.

Cons of FreedomVoice as a Business Phone Provider

While FreedomVoice boasts ease of use, there are some cons to choosing this phone provider for a VoIP phone number. For starters, they don’t offer as many features as other competitors, including the virtual phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding. For example, you can’t send team messages or conduct conference calling from the VoIP numbers through FreedomVoice. Secondly, with this company, there is no ability to merge business VoIP lines with business software systems. These are systems that are used every day like your business CRM (Salesforce, Asana, etc.). Finally, with rates starting at $9.95 for one virtual phone number, there are certainly more inexpensive options available.

FreedomVoice vs Grasshopper Phone Number Provider
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Pros of Grasshopper as a Business Phone Provider

Just like FreedomVoice, Grasshopper is a virtual number provider. Benefits of choosing this company include ease of set up and the ability to add features to business VoIP numbers. This organization also provides the option to include other, additional features. Some of which can make doing business much easier. This increases overall customer satisfaction when it comes to doing business over the phone.

Cons of Grasshopper as a Business Phone Provider

Unlike FreedomVoice, Grasshopper requires you to have an already established business phone system. A multi-line system or a physical VoIP unit are both examples. This means that choosing FreedomVoice for VoIP management could mean having to fork over money to pay for phone units. Would you rather have the ability to make calls from any device you want, including mobile devices? And, not have to purchase brand new equipment just to make these types of calls? If so, Grasshopper is not for you. Finally, with a starting price of $26 a month, even FreedomVoice is cheaper than this option. So, if money is an important issue for your business endeavors, it isn’t the best choice.

A Better Choice: Global Call Forwarding

Still not sure if either FreedomVoice or Grasshopper is right for your business? That’s because there is a better option available! Global Call Forwarding is more competitively priced than both of these competitors. And, it’s just as simple to set up and use and doesn’t require the purchase of additional equipment to start. Finally, it is competitively priced (with the lowest priced plan starting at $7.95 a month).

Choosing Global Call Forwarding for Your VoIP Number Needs

There is a more affordable way to conduct business with VoIP phone numbers without the headache. To purchase VoIP phone numbers for business with Global Call Forwarding, contact us today.

 

A review of Global Call Forwarding vs Avoxi

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 task. In order to be the best customer service agent, they must have the right personality, skills, and adequate training. Because customer service directly impacts revenue and how your company is perceived, building the best customer support team should be a top priority.

This article will cover the traits you should be looking for when hiring new customer service agents. It will also cover those that you should emphasize when training your team. 

Patience with the Customer

Perhaps the primary trait you should foster with every customer service agent in your company is patience. Being able to handle the pace of each customer’s unique situation can lead to a positive customer service experience. This is especially important when callers may be irate, confused, or unknowledgeable. Those at your inbound call center should know that each customer simply wants their problems solved in the most efficient way possible. Unclear issues should be explained in a level-headed manner without assuming that a customer’s negativity is in any way a personal attack. To develop patience, part of every customer service agent’s call center duties should be focused on resolving problems with empathy. 

Clear Communication

Part of being a good customer service agent is clearly communicating what callers are trying to get across and responding in ways that ultimately make sense to each caller. This includes company protocol, grasping the issue at the heart of the call, and troubleshooting technical aspects beyond their grasp. This is especially important for tech-heavy industries, where simple definitions and explanations can be used without delving into jargon and complexity. However, when the occasion calls for it, your customer service agents should be able to explain more advanced concepts that are understandable for all levels of comprehension. 

what make a good customer service agent?
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A Positive Attitude

Moods are infectious. Therefore, having your customer service agents focus on projecting a positive outlook and looking on the bright side is paramount to success. This can be difficult when customer service agents encounter constant negativity, especially when customers despair at their problem, or maybe at their wit’s end. First, part of call center duties should include the ability to uplift callers and gradually shift their thinking as inquiries are solved. Try to see part of the job description as being a well-spring of positive emotions. For instance, you may want to train your agents to take callers on a journey towards happiness; at first, a caller may be upset, but as the problem nears resolution, a positive outcome can be reached – even better and more efficiently than a caller realizes. In a fast-paced world where callers may feel that it is them vs. the world, encountering a positive, smiling voice on the other end of the phone can be a breath of fresh air. This is something that reflects well on your company’s public image. 

Be Creative with Your Solutions

Customer service agents should be trained and rewarded for using their creativity when it comes to problem-solving. Being able to provide customers with uniquely tailored solutions to their problems and understanding the frame of mind that they present requires the ability to think beyond standard procedures. Encourage your customer service agents to come up with their own ways of troubleshooting problems. For instance, if a customer continually has problems with their billing, a customer service agent can suggest ways that fit how the caller prefers to do business. This, of course, requires that your customer service agents have a deep knowledge of your business, as the more you know, the easier it is to see a wider range of options for any given obstacle. When these dilemmas present themselves, agents can devise solutions that may call for out-of-the-box thinking when particular issues arise. 

The Top Reasons Customer Service is Your Company’s Lifeline

Is customer service the reason your business is suffering? Customer service is one of the most critical areas of your company, and when it hurts, your entire company will fail. Think about it; customer service representatives are the direct line between your business and your customers. Do you think that your team is representing your business well? In the highly competitive small business industry, your customer service team could be the ‘make it or break it’ aspect for your company.

Customer Service Puts You Ahead

Companies with highly trained customer service staff will always come out on top, compared to other businesses who spend their time looking to other avenues such as marketing and ads. Marketing and advertising are essential aspects of the company but did you know that it’s better to focus on your existing customers? It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. A loyal customer is for life, and when doing business long-term, loyal customers can make a difference in your longevity.

If you are still skeptical of the benefits of customer service, then read on to learn the top reasons customer service is your company’s lifeline.

1. You Save with Customer Retention

Customer retention by 5% can increase your profits by more than 25%. If that math seems a little wonky to you, think about it. If you have one loyal customer, they are much more likely to continue to purchase from your brand. If you sell tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels, they are much more likely to buy all three products dutifully every week they come into your store. Contrast that long-term purchasing with the customer who decided to try your product one time when it was on sale. If you gain enough customer retention, your brand will sell itself, saving you money on operating costs over time. What does all of this have to do with customer service? You gain loyal customers by being loyal first. Be available 24/7, listen to their needs, solve their problems, and always let your existing customers know that you appreciate them.

Customer Service
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2. It Gives Your Brand a Positive Image

You know your mission statement, but just because you’ve got it memorized, that doesn’t mean your customers do. Customers only know from your company what they assume about it when they view you on social media, see your ads, and interact with you on the phone. If you have a positive presence all across the board, they will see your company in a positive light. It’s as simple as that.

3. Happiness is Contagious

A big smile from a stranger can brighten anyone’s day. Imagine you were having a bad day and running late for work. Then, on your commute to work, a baby can’t stop smiling and giggling at you. It would be hard to continue focusing on your bad day when so much happiness has entered your sight-line. The same goes for customer service agents. A positive customer service agent on the other line can help set the mood for a disgruntled customer on the other end.

4. Word of Mouth

Money can’t buy you word of mouth advertising, but it is one of the most worthwhile forms of advertising. We’ve all done it when we are impressed with a brand; we can’t help but talk about it with our friends. If you have a pleasant experience with a company, it stays with you, and that’s why having a strong customer service team is so important. We revisit and reorder from the same places over and over again because something impressed us. Whether that’s a happy server at a restaurant or no-hassle, free-shipping on returns at a fashion company.

5. People Are Willing to Spend More on a Brand They Trust

This is something that is not very obvious, but very relatable. If you’re shopping online and looking for a particular product, you’re going to go with the brand that you trust over another brand with cheaper products but a bad reputation. When you’re looking for a restaurant to go to with friends, you might check out Yelp. If there are rave reviews for a more expensive spot you’re more likely to check that place out then to head to the dive bar with one star.

Sounding Professional When Customers Call Your Business

How many times have you dialed the phone number to a business’ customer service department and been greeted by someone who sounded like they were less than enthused to answer your call? It happens often, unfortunately, but businesses do not realize how much this can hurt them. Just because a customer service representative is on the phone all day does not mean that they have to be bored and sound really unhappy. The proper etiquette and some enthusiasm can go a long way in sounding professional when customers call your business – ultimately giving your business a reliable appearance.

Here are a few tips for sounding professional when customers call your business to help you make each phone interaction with your customers an amazing customer service experience:

Using the right phrase will start a conversation off on the right foot. Beginning a conversation with good morning, good afternoon, or a similar greeting and thanking the customer for their call is a great way to start. Stating your name and then asking them how you can help them comes next. Also, it is important to be friendly, upbeat and act like you love your job while providing the best customer service to them. This can all be heard in the tone of a customer service representative’s voice, as well as in the words that are chosen in speaking to customers.

The Power of Positivity

Positivity is also paramount. Ensuring a customer that you will work diligently to resolve whatever issue they have called about and that it will be solved as quickly as possible is important. If you are not able to resolve the issue yourself, ensuring the customer that you will then find someone who is able to is important as well. Saying something like, “I am sorry that you are dealing with this issue, but we will figure this out and resolve this for you as soon as possible” exudes positivity versus sitting on the phone and telling a customer, “I just can’t figure this out” or “I don’t know what the problem is and I am not getting anywhere with this.” Fill your conversation with positive statements, no matter how challenging the issue is to resolve.

Sounding Professional When Customers Call Your Business
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Pay Attention to the Energy You Give Off

Displaying energy through the sound of your voice also goes a long way. Even if it is super early and you have not had your coffee yet, sound like you are excited to speak with them and be of service to them through the resolution of their issue. Even if they are agitated and possibly raising their voice, it is your job to remain calm, energetic, and positive.

Being patient is another principle part of sounding professional when customers call your business. If you happen to ask the customer a question, be patient and wait for them to give you an answer. Do not talk over a customer. Talking over a customer is not only rude, but it may also cause you to miss out on hearing something very important that they are trying to convey to you. If you talk over a customer, they will need to repeat themselves and this will not only potentially aggravate a customer, but also force things to take a longer period of time to resolve. Remember to wait patiently for their full response.

Dealing with distractions in an appropriate way is another tip to sounding professional when customers call your business. There will always be distractions. It is part of life, no matter if you are working from a call center, your own office, a home office, or some other location. How you deal with those distractions is key. Callers know if you are distracted. From the moment you answer their phone call to the moment the call has ended, your one and only focus should be on the customer you have on the phone, their explanation of their needs, and how you are going to go about resolving any issues and fulfilling their needs. It is important to be attentive and helpful and treat the caller in the same exact way that you would want to be treated.

Just as displaying energy and positivity is important, the tone of your voice in demonstrating energy and positivity is just as important. Customer service agents should examine how they sound when they answer the phone. You should sound happy. Practicing with other coworkers in training can help customer service agents to hear themselves and adjust, if needed, accordingly.

Sounding professional when customers call your business is critical to the vitality and growth of a business. Remember that the person on the other end of the call is a human being and they are calling for help, guidance, answers, and to determine if they will invest in your brand or not. Make sure conversations are kept professional, focused, and upbeat from beginning to end.

10 Things You Should Never Say During a Customer Service Call

Working in customer service can be very rewarding, but it can also be very demanding. Most customer service agents must deal with angry customers daily. Customer service representatives must be able to take these unhappy people and turn them into satisfied and loyal customers. During a customer service call, this is no easy feat when a person enters the conversation angry or upset.

When someone is already upset, it is easy for problems to snowball. One wrong word from a customer service agent could mean the loss of a customer forever. However, customer service call agents cannot just placate customers; they do have problems to solve, and some issues cannot be resolved. Customer service agents should be able to walk a fine line between being stern and being friendly. All words that are exchanged over a customer service line carry weight. If you are a customer service agent or are training agents for your business, be careful to avoid these common verbal slip-ups that may ruin a customer’s experience.

  1. I can’t help you with that
    Sometimes a customer service call agent has to follow a specific protocol, and some things will be outside of their jurisdiction. When you realize that you cannot help the person over the phone, it is best to forward them to a more senior person on the team or management. The answer should never be that they can’t be helped.
  2. That’s just our policy
    Telling your customers that you can’t help them is terrible, but not giving them a reason for why you can’t help them is even worse. Saying, “sorry, that’s our policy” is basically you shrugging your shoulders at them and tossing their inquiries away. It isn’t an acceptable answer to an angry or confused customer. This customer is only interested in the problem being resolved. To be that short with a customer gives the impression that your company doesn’t care about its customers.
  3. Unfortunately, no
    No is negative; it does not matter how its phrased. Saying, unfortunately, might make you think that you are mitigating the severity of the word, no, but you are not. Do not lead with a negative when speaking to an angry customer. If you are unable to help them in the way that they want you to, use a different phrase such as, “here’s what we can do for you.”
  4. Interrupting a rant
    If you are a customer service representative, you have probably had to sit through a rant or two in your time. The critical thing to remember when dealing with an angry customer is to let them get it all out. When they come up for air, that is when you can start talking to them. Never interrupt and never tell a customer they are unreasonable, even if they are.
  5. Never Say During a Customer Service Call
    Source: Stockphoto.com O#100168438628 ID#100200144052

    I don’t know
    A call center agent should always have an answer to a customer’s issues. Answering with I don’t know is unacceptable and should never be uttered by an agent. Customers call companies and speak to representatives because they want to be helped, and an incompetent agent cannot help them.

  6. Give me a second
    A second is a vague measurement of time that should not be given on the phone. If you are looking into something for a customer, it’s better to be honest about how long they will be waiting for you to look things up.
  7. Actually, it’s this
    Don’t even bother correcting a customer on a name or pronunciation or anything. It will be taken as condescending, and you will put the customer off or make them feel embarrassed.
  8. I’m sorry
    Don’t get me wrong, it is important to apologize to upset customers, but it is best to avoid it if you don’t mean it. It won’t carry the same significance if you actually do not care and are just repeating this overused phrase.
  9. I have to put you on hold
    A customer does not want to be placed on hold, and this should be avoided at all costs. However, sometimes it is unavoidable, and in those cases, you must ask the customer if it is okay that you put them on hold and be sure to explain your reasons for doing so.
  10. I don’t see your account information here
    Never announce this to the person that you are helping on the other line. More than likely you are missing their name in the database or you input the wrong information. Humans make errors, and you should never assume that the customer called you by mistake. It certainly happens, but until you’ve exhausted every possible way to find their information, they do not need to hear this phrase uttered.

Effective Problem Solving to Build Customer Confidence

Having your own business is a competitive environment. One wrong move and you could be losing customers to your competition. That’s why it is essential that your business focuses on problem solving to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. But what happens when your company makes a mistake, such as not allowing a customer to return a damaged product or putting your customer on hold for a lengthy amount of time? Your customers may take that very personally.

Building Confidence while Problem Solving for Customer Satisfaction

Your business should be focused on keeping the customers’ confidence because once you lose the confidence of a customer, you can lose everything that you’ve worked for. According to marketwatch.com, Comcast, Wells Fargo, American Airlines are the companies with the worst reputations. How did they get placed on that list? The reasons range from poor customer service, cutting employees’ salaries, cutting jobs, and in the case of BP, it is still reeling from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which tarnished their reputation beyond repair. If you have found that your business is suffering from poor customer service reviews, public relations, or consistency, you could be in danger of losing your customers. When you lose your customer’s confidence, it can cost you everything. If you think you may be at risk of losing customers, you need to inject trust back into the relationship.

Loyal customers can make or break a business because returning customers account for much of your profits. Additionally, they are great for word-of-mouth marketing. Losing the trust of a customer who pays money for your product or service means that you could permanently damage the reputation of your company. If you’ve made a single mistake or just suffered a miscommunication, there may be a way to win your customers’ trust back. If you don’t want to see the end of your business, here are some key tactics to execute to regain that trust.

Problem Solving
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1. Effective problem solving techniques

To begin problem solving, you must find out where the leak is. Once you have figured out the source of your issues, you can take steps to rectify the problems. Sometimes you will get customers that are open about the issues that they have and will voice their opinions directly to you. However, many customers will simply switch to your competitor without saying a thing. You can find out feedback from these customers by asking customers to fill out surveys, following up with your customers after a purchase, scanning Yelp for reviews, and reaching out to once-regular customers who haven’t purchased in a while.

2. Take responsibility

Once you’ve found out where you’ve gone wrong with a customer, it’s time to own up to your mistake. Never get defensive with a customer or blame the issue on something else. Apologize so you and the customer can move on. Think about it, if you were the unsatisfied customer, would you want to the company you’re giving your money to, to get defensive when you contact them with a problem? Absolutely not. Apologizing is always the best solution.

3. Remedy the situation

While an apology is the first step to begin to remedy a situation, the next task is to rebuild the trust. Be sure that you do this by ensuring the problem never happens again. There might be a flaw in one aspect of your business, and if you do not fix this issue, you may have future problems with other customers. Retain feedback while you source out the issues and make the appropriate changes, that way you know that your business is on the right track.

4. Offer the customer something for their troubles

Problem solving issues, so it never happens again may help you to retain other customers, but if the problem was very bad, then you may have to do more to regain the customer’s confidence. Provide the customer a gift along with your apologies such as a discount or a free sample. This little act of giving shows to your customers that your business will go above and beyond for their customers’ happiness.

8 Customer Service Tips for Companies in the Travel Industry

Great customer service tips can be the difference between retaining clients and losing them. It means understanding clients’ needs and fulfilling them in a timely manner, even when you are in different time zones and countries apart.

Travel agencies, tourism businesses, airline and railway companies, and especially hotel chains need a customer service routine. Excellent customer service, especially on an international level, is imperative to your success. Global Call Forwarding personally engages with firms in the tourism and travel industry. This means more than just providing toll free numbers for your company. We want to help you provide personalized and intuitive service to your clients with ease.

We reach into countries as far as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Whether you are based in the United States and want local phone numbers in these areas, or you are an independent travel agent who needs a way to filter phone calls while they are on the road, Global Call Forwarding can assist you in creating memorable customer service.

It is time to foster loyalty and stand out from your competitors through engaging with clients in a convenient manner. For this reason we have provided 8 customer service tips for the tourism industry:

  1. Communication. Always.

This seems like a given, but you would be surprised how many companies forget this simple concept. Inconveniences will happen and delays are inevitable. However, it just makes sense to tell your clients what is happening with their travel plans. Do not leave them in the dark during a delay. Tell them in person, on the phone, through speakers, with an email, over social media – whichever medium makes the most sense so that you are always communicating with them.

  1. Don’t Allow For Unnecessary Disruptions or Waiting Time

Scheduling and reservation issues, lost baggage, gate changes, and ticket purchases can already make a customer feel on edge. Imagine these types of conversations in an unknown or unfamiliar country, such as Thailand or Singapore, and how time zone differences can make matters even more complex.

When an individual calls your customer service representatives, try as much as possible not to place them on hold. Instead, international call forwarding and the integration of local phone numbers into your systems gives you the ability to lessen their wait time so they can get back on the road.

  1. Keep Your Internal Teams Informed and Organized

Consider that you run an airline based in the United States that books clients with flights into the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Your customer service agents and hospitality connections are based in Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. With all of these countries working together inside of one company, internal communications can easily go off the rails. You do not want to accidentally give conflicting information about a client’s travel itineraries.

Internal teams must stay up to date on the latest travel news and notices. Bosses and managers must stay connected as well, even in the busiest airports. Make sure that everyone is able to stay connected with each other.

  1. Set up Different Lines for Different Needs

How does your current customer service team navigate hospitality services, purchasing airline tickets, making reservations, confirming itineraries, and contacting tour and cruise packages with new destinations? These are just a few but common essentials tourism faces on an hourly basis. However, if one client calls in asking about their travel reservations and is met with a confusing phone system, they are less likely to return to you for their future needs.

Instead, international call forwarding and other helpful phone features allows you to direct people to different lines. If possible, set up different lines for sales, lead generation, telemarketing, welcoming phone calls, inquiries and billing issues, as well as customer service. This is better for customer retention and loyalty.

  1. Make Certain Calls a Priority

Every company receives spam numbers, including companies based in the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. However, you should not let this get in the way of excellent customer service. Utilizing black and white lists means that you can filter out unwelcome calls and give preference to callers who are considered top priority. This is especially useful in the hospitality industry, where it is imperative to reach the right people at the right time.

  1. It’s Okay to be Automated

Many will suggest that automated systems are impersonal, and depending on how you use this type of system, they can be. However, having a reliable automated system can also be a functional customer service tool for your company.

Imagine calling a company over and over only to have a call dropped, or only to find that you keep dialing in the wrong line. Having an international call forwarding system done the right way will prevent this issue in the future. An automated system may even help them address the right information much faster than with a person.

When you address their needs right away, your team can move on with their day – and so can your caller. This simplifies the transition between calls as well.

  1. Stay Friendly

Unfortunately, hospitality representatives can bring out the worst in people. Frustrated clients usually result in tension on both sides. However, even if a client has a terrible travel experience, they should remember your excellent customer service. So, be sure to alleviate the key frustrations of your clients and stay friendly with them.

  1. Be Local

Finally, customers appreciate seeing companies as local. Customers are more likely to call your company if they do not have to pay a fee to do so. This immediately makes you more accessible than your competitors. So, using local phone numbers and tll free numbers based in their city is a great way for them to feel like they are staying with a business that cares.

Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality

Get ready for takeoff! Whether you are an individual agent who needs help filtering incoming calls or you are an executive at an internationally recognized airline, Global Call Forwarding makes the running of your business much smoother.

Global Call Forwarding can be extremely beneficial to the customer service of your company, whether you have roots in Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, or the UAE.