Sunday, 19 February 2012

Can a Call Center Handle Customer Service Better Than You

Call centers are responsible for fielding queries, helping customers with issues related to a product or service, taking orders, or answering general questions about the business, products or services. If these calls are not answered properly and efficiently, the customers and potential customers may end up leaving the business and going to a competitor. Hence, using a professional customer service call center is a must for an organization that cares about its image and service that it offers customers and potential customers.

Many experts believe that call centers can handle customer service better than a business organization. This is primarily because call centers have operators, who are solely dedicated to answering calls. On the other hand, employees of an organization have other responsibilities besides handling calls from customers. So if an employee is busy, the standard of customer service offered over the telephone will suffer, as the employee will be more interested in finishing office work. Furthermore, if the office is busy, no one may think about picking up the call.

Supposing the receptionist is given the task of manning calls from customers and potential customers, the receptionist may not be equipped to handle the calls. She may not have the knowledge about the product or service, and may have to put the customer on hold until she can locate a qualified person to handle queries. Research has shown that consumers do not have the patience to wait for long on telephones to get answers to their questions and queries. If they are not attended to immediately, they tend to leave the business and find another service provider or vendor, who could end up being your competitor. This would mean loss of revenue and also a loss of image for your company. Hence, having a dedicated customer service call center is a must, as it will be able to handle customer service better than you.

Furthermore, when employees answer phones, there could be errors while taking down orders. This would end up causing a big problem for you. The order may not get processed, it may get wrongly processed or the order may not be as per specifications of the customer. Hence, taking errors out of phone orders is another issue that businesses have to handle. However, when regular employees handle order taking, there is always scope for errors. So taking errors out of phone orders will be a tough task for any organization. On the other hand, when you have a customer service call center, the telephone operators are well-trained and supported by software that allows them to handle large volumes of callers and make a note of the order or request. As a result, the order taking process and handling requests are without any errors.

Remember, in your organizations, employees will be overworked. This is because they are already multi-tasking and getting them to handle customers on the phone is bound to cause problems. Taking errors out of phone orders can be done using a dedicated customer service call center. Besides taking orders, the call center will handle all concerns, complaints, questions by consumers and also help them resolve issues. This means that your employees can concentrate on their daily tasks and meeting their work-related goals, so that your business can grow.

Furthermore, the call center will be able to operate round the clock, which is not possible if you just have employees handling and fielding consumer calls. Typically, employees will work as per office timings. Once the office closes, there will be no one to answer consumers, who expect their questions and concerns to be addressed regardless of the time. This can be frustrating for consumers, who may resort to ranting out their feelings on social media platforms and forums. This is bad publicity for your company and will end up ruining your company’s image.

A customer service call center is not just for taking errors out of phone orders. It also helps in retaining customers and gaining new customers. If customers are satisfied with the response their get, they are bound to stay with you. Otherwise, they may end up going to your competitor. This translates to loss of revenue. Also, happy consumers mean free promotion for your business. When consumers are satisfied, they will also speak about it in different forums and social media platforms, and talk about it to their friends and family. This can help you get free promotion without spending any additional money and a possibility of getting new customers at no additional cost. Also, when you have a professional and reliable customer service call center, it can be used to introduce callers to new products or services that you are launching.

The benefits of using customer service call center are many. But it goes without saying that it will be able to handle customer service better than you and your employees.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Letting Call Centers Take Your Orders

While most people know that call centers offer customer support, many are unaware that there are even order taking call centers. Today, mobile phones are a necessity for people, and it is these same mobile phones that allow people to immediately call and place an order for a product or service that they think they need. Placing an order over a phone is efficient and convenient. An order taking call center allows a consumer to place an order without leaving the comforts of their homes.

An order taking call center can be used for any kind of business. In fact, takeaway food chains use the services of such call centers along with fast moving consumer goods companies. Typically, these call centers have highly trained and service-oriented operators, who can handle multiple callers at the same time. Such a feat is not possible by a regular receptionist, who can get overwhelmed by the number of callers. Furthermore, an ordinary business’ telephone line will not be able to cater to a large volume of callers simultaneously. An order taking call center can increase productivity of employees in a business, as they no longer have to bother about doing their regular office tasks and also worry about taking order.

There are many other benefits for hiring an order taking call center. When a customer calls in to place an order, the call center would be able to give more options, the business has the liberty of expanding and offering more products or services, and the business can also offer a combination of different products and services. Above all, hiring a professional order taking call center can help a business improve and boost its relationship with its customers. When a company messes up an order or does send an order on time, it will lose customers. However, this can be avoided by having a professional call center take down orders from customers, who call in.

Most of these order taking call centers have professional operators, who are trained to handle even the most difficult customers. In addition, they use the latest telephone systems to reduce problems and long waiting time. The chances of orders getting messed up or being mishandles are virtually eliminated. The call centers also have systems and processes in place to ensure that the orders received are processed properly. This ensures greater customer satisfaction, increases sales and creates a better image of the business.

Another benefit of an order taking call center is that small- and medium-sized businesses that have limited staff can outsource the order taking process. This ensures that employees are not overwhelmed during busy hours. Otherwise, productivity suffers and also quality of customer service deteriorates. This can have an adverse effect on the business’ bottom line. When the order taking process is outsourced, the employees can concentrate on their job and focus on meeting their targets and helping the business grow.

However, if you do use an order taking call center, there are certain FTC telephone order merchandise rules that need to be followed. There is a business guide for telephone order taking that the FTC has prepared in conjunction with Direct Marketing Association. The rule for shipping orders state that the vendor must have a specific period within which any order must be shipped. If the vendor does not imply or state this period, it is understood that vendor will ship the product within a period of 30 days. In case the vendor cannot ship the order within 30 days and has already taken the order, he should get in touch with the customer and inform them of the delay in shipping. If the customer does not give consent, the full amount has to be refunded to the customer without any delays.

The FTC’s business guide for telephone order taking states that when customers pay via check, money order or cash, the refund should be made within 7 working days after the cancellation of the order. This refund has to be sent by first class mail. On the other hand, if the customer pays through credit card, the customer would have to be notified that their credit card will not be charged or if the credit card is already charged, the amount has to be credited to the customer.

Hence, record keeping is extremely important when you are using an order taking call center. The records will show whether the customer has been charged for a purchase, whether the order was shipped on time, whether the order was cancelled and whether the paid amount was refunded to the customer. The Federal Trade Commission requires order taking businesses to maintain these records perfectly, as they are needed to comply with the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Trade Regulation Rule mandated by the FTC. Even if the order taking call center messes up, the liability falls on the business. Hence, it is important that a business hire a professional order taking call center to ensure that no problems occur during the order taking and processing of the order.