after hours customer service and telephone etiquette

Customer service drives your business! But, it shouldn’t end once you lock up for the night. In today’s digital world, customers expect constant access to your business and want to experience positive customer service along the way. To help provide excellent customer service to your customers at all hours of the day, here are five tips for your business to follow to help improve customer satisfaction:

1. Forward After-Hour Calls to a Professional Answering Service or IVR

No matter how good of a business owner or employee you are, once you clock out for the day, your dedication to your business decreases. Your nights and weekends should be dedicated to family time, personal time and sleeping. But for some industries, the calls never stop.

If you usually take all of your business calls on a personal cell, you most likely are guilty of hitting the decline button a few times. If you have an employee who takes home a work phone and is tasked with answering calls overnight, they probably are missing calls as well. If you don’t take business calls to your cell phone and instead have a dedicated work phone that stays in your office, you may be missing emergency calls from your clients!

Instead of overwhelming yourself and bringing your work home with you, you can forward your business calls to a professional 24/7 answering service or IVR system. Both an IVR system and an answering service can help eliminate call traffic to your cell by filtering out emergency calls from nonemergency calls.

An answering service typically uses live voice agents to speak with your callers. These agents will assess the nature of the call and can often schedule appointments or assist callers in a manner that you or your employees would.

An IVR system uses an automated voice menu to direct callers to extensions or prerecorded messages. (You’ve interacted with an IVR if you’ve ever heard, “For billing, press 1; for directions, press 2; to speak with a representative, press the pound sign.”)

Each has its pros and cons, but to determine which solution is best for your business, read “Are IVRs Better Than Live Agents?

Regardless of your preference, both an answering service and an IVR system will increase after-hours customer satisfaction by ensuring that all of your calls are answered and that your clients are not ignored or lost.

HVAC Case Study: Reducing Customer Complaints

2. Stay Active on Social Media

While your business may have set store hours, social media is open 24/7. Many customers will visit your businesses’ social media channels before even calling to speak with you. So how you present yourself on social media platforms is very important. It is often the first interaction that potential customers have with your business.

Be sure to create a brand on your social media profiles and post regularly to help build that brand and image. Putting your phone number in your bio and posting once or twice a year is not going to cut it because this makes you look inactive, and clients may assume that you are either out of business or not making much of an effort.

You can manage your social media personally or outsource to a social media management company or freelancer. Not sure how to approach social media? “Social Media Dos and Dont’s for Your HVAC Company” gives you a helpful list full of tips to maximize your social media.

3. Use Video to Create Helpful, Personalized Experiences 

Potential and current clients are full of questions, and they expect you to have answers. If you are unable to provide them with a solution in person, you can always use video.

Use pre-recorded tutorials to prevent FAQ calls. 

Do you always have customers requesting for you to come out for an issue only for it to be a very simple fix that they could have completed? You don’t mind helping your customers, but you’d rather save them time and money. They feel the same way!

By creating videos discussing and explaining these frequently asked questions, you allow yourself to always be available to your customers — even when you’re fast asleep at 2 a.m.

Create knowledge videos to provide information.

As a business owner or employee in your industry, you know a lot! Create short videos explaining issues, products or services to buyers in your industry.

Informative videos such as these can showcase your knowledge and make you a thought leader in your industry. Not only will this gain the trust of your clients, but it can also generate new leads.

4. Offer Self-Service Options

Today’s customers want options! They are busy and may not be able to drop by your office or call you to get information on your business or to set up consultations and appointments.

Popular self-service options include consultation forms, informative blog posts or webpages, and customer logins. These types of self-service options will allow your current and potential customers to access helpful information on their own time.

Consider: Some customers don’t have the time during a typical workday to call up your business to book, schedule, reschedule or cancel an appointment. If possible within your industry, consider online appointment scheduling. This feature will give your customers the freedom to schedule at their convenience, which could boost your profit.

The benefits of online appointment scheduling are:

  1. Convenience: Online scheduling allows your customers and potential clients to make their appointments on their time and in a comfortable environment. This reduces any selling pressure.
  2. Accuracy: With your customer filling in all information through your website form, you can ensure that their appointment information is accurate. Even the best secretary can misunderstand a caller, so it is a good idea to back up info to eliminate discrepancies.

5. Always Follow Up with Customers

Even if you use all of these tips, you must follow up with your customers in order to ensure that your customer service is up to par.

Incorporating the above actions into your business will work wonders if they are partnered with a follow-up call, email or other form of contact!

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Dexcomm is a Louisiana-based corporation that provides answering services to businesses and service agencies across the United States. We have been open since 1954, employ a staff of roughly 80 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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Read More About The Author: Marina Prestenbach