Posted by David Scult

Listening earWhen we here at Fonality talk to our current and prospective clients, one of the top concerns listed is improving customer communications. Sure, facilitating more collaboration among internal players is vitally important, but the lifeblood of any business is its customers and clients. After all, without that revenue stream, no company is likely to last very long.

However, far too often our customers think that our feature-rich  contact center solutions are the end-all solution to their customer service problems.  Granted, our VoIP contact center solution can dramatically improve how well an organization is able to field incoming calls and address client feedback. However, unless the company in question takes the time to maximize its contact center investment by approaching external communications differently, then no technology will help them.

What ends up happening at most companies, according to Forrester analyst Adele Sage, is that many companies put lots of time and resources into collecting and storing customer feedback coming in from a variety of sources. This is problematic because organizations are not devoting enough of their energy and resources to listening to their customers and clients. Only by listening and by developing actionable responses to incoming queries will companies ever be able to ensure their customer communications initiative yields a positive return on investment.

Steps to take to ensure clients are effectively heard
By instituting a few small changes, companies can ensure that any feedback given is listened to and leveraged effectively. Here are a few tips Sage recommended for your organization to make:

  • Put yourself in your customers' shoes: Unless you totally understand your customers' needs, your business will likely be unable to adequately address them. This is a simple step to take, but it can often be one of the most powerful ways to truly understand their requests and how to address them. Sage said some companies will even stage drills where call center representatives, pretending to be customers, will have their inquiries intentionally ignored to better understand what it feels like to be neglected.
  • Determine the clients' main pain points: Some businesses field hundreds or thousands of incoming customer inquiries a day, whether via email, fax, business phone service or some other means. It can sometimes be difficult to cut through that noise, which is why organizations should list which types of concerns are most frequently voiced and take steps to address those immediately.
  • Involve more team members in customer service: According to Joseph Callaway, author of the bestselling book "Clients First: The Two Word Miracle," one of the biggest issues that happens in companies is that customer service representatives become overwhelmed or burned out, which often means that the client receives subpar service when contacting the company. To avoid this situation, consider having employees who work in different parts of the business respond to clients or consumers on occasion. Sometimes having someone who is not always dealing with external players can really freshen up contact center operations and customer service.
  • Leverage reports and dashboards: Like many other people, I am a visual learner. Chances are many other people at your organization are visual learners too. Embrace this by utilizing dashboards and other visual reporting tools to more effectively convey client feedback to others.

What steps do you take at your business to make sure all customer needs are met? Leave your comments below to let us know.