How can I help you?
Let's just look here at two points of the call - the start and the end. The meat in the middle of this sandwich is crucial but these 2 points wrap up the full flavour.
So how does it feel to call a company for a motor insurance quote? Most calls start with a recorded message or IVR. Whilst this plays an important role in directing customers to the right agents and imparting necessary legal information, it is also the front door to the company and as such should reflect the brand in a positive way. Feedback from customers is that they do not appreciate long IVRs, or lots of layers of options. So timing here is a balancing act between company needs and customer wants.
The time taken to reach an agent may well include some wait time after the IVR if the call centres are busy. Many companies now have 'hold messages' which might mention a special offer, product feature or even remind the caller of the option to try the internet for a quote. And then you get through to an agent. That first impression can really set the tone for the rest of the call - was it welcoming, clear, positive? All too often this introduction can be rushed and the message is lost.
Moving to the back end of the call now. Assuming all has gone well, the agent has done a good job; how is this call going to end? In our mystery shopping calls we do not make a purchase and our callers will often say they are not ready to make a decision yet, or are shopping around. We often hear agents offer to call the customer back later to see if they are ready to make a decision. It's a helpful offer - as long as the agent doesn't get too pushy.
Clearly if a sale hasn't been made the agent will be disappointed. But that's not the end of the selling opportunity. There's still the chance that the customer will call back with a positive decision. We know from our Renewal Behaviour research that customers make an average of 5 calls when shopping around. So the positive messages of the call need to continue right to the point of putting the phone down. In Call Ending we monitor if a reference number has been offered, if the agent thanked the customer for calling, if they offered help with anything else, if they were still warm and friendly and if they gave a final benefit message. This could be the 'why choose us' message - perhaps a reminder of a special offer, or a specific feature the caller had been interested in. It could also be the 'try us again next year/for other products' message. However - this opportunity for a final message is rarely used.
So going back to the sandwich - agents should be sure to leave callers with a good taste in their mouth, and wanting more!
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