In today’s world, customers expect to have access to customer support on demand. For many businesses, this has meant relying on and funding a network of call centres to operate through the night.
24/7 support is a big investment – worth it, but pricey. Businesses need to hire and train support representatives, which requires upfront financial investment, before being able to experience the benefits of round-the-clock customer support.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With VoIP technologies in place, businesses can offer various levels of automated customer support and infrastructure. This decreases the draw on human-powered customer help desks and helps companies save on upfront costs.
Zadarma is a global leader in providing 24/7 VoIP solutions, popular for its virtual switchboard and PBX offering. These intelligent VoIP solutions involving virtual switchboards and virtual receptionists are responsible for establishing different mechanisms and call scenarios that can help you minimise the loss of leads, optimise customer service time and, ultimately, improve customer satisfaction levels.
What is 24/7 customer service?
24/7 customer support means your customers can get help and find answers to questions on demand, whatever the time of day or time zone.
Offering 24/7 customer services for most companies varying in size is often just not feasible. However, without always-on customer service staff, business managers have to resign themselves to losing out on all the out-of-hours calls and sales opportunities.
This is where the beauty of VoIP-powered virtual switchboards comes in.
A virtual switchboard allows you to manage calls and users in real time from a single, simple-to-use interface. With a virtual switchboard, you can transfer calls, park and retrieve them and above all, you can set up call solutions for out-of-hours customer service. Virtual switchboards offer a multitude of options that can help maintain a permanent presence. When investigating which VoIP partners are best suited to your business needs, it’s important to evaluate price, solution and ease of setting up as prime factors to influence your choice.
How do you configure call scenarios?
Configuring call scenarios is the first step that you should consider when setting your virtual switchboard. You should think about which destination should each call arrive at depending on the time. It’s something that needs to be considered on paper and then transferred to the configuration of Zadarna’s virtual switchboard.
Some VoIP solutions are complicated to set up and you will need an IT team member for support. However, Zadarma’s call configuration solution is straightforward and created with simple steps, with a drag-and-drop method to configure each call step in a very intuitive way.
The power of a virtual switchboard visual editor
When you set up a virtual switchboard, you need to establish a voice menu that allows each agent or department to be reached if they are connected or, if not, to end up in a voice mailbox where the user or customer can leave a message.
This process should only take a few minutes. You have now organised all the possible call scenarios and various call paths that your users must follow to achieve rapid customer attention or, in the case of being out of hours, register their callback request.
How to rescue business calls?
9 am – 5 pm your customer service team is available to pick up calls quickly, minimising call waiting times. Out of hours, when your daytime team clocks off, your customer services desk may appear closed, with only a simple voicemail in place.
But, what do you do when messages accumulate in the call mailbox?
Often there seems to be no other option but to review them first thing in the morning to properly attend to the requests. Some VoIP providers offer call transcription and when you have the transcription option activated, with each call registered in the CRM, you will have a feature that allows you to listen to the audio of each call or, even more interesting, read the transcript of what they said, even out of hours.
What about CRM call transcripts?
VoIP providers vary in the transcript capability with some providers integrating with your CRM. This feature should assign a label (complaint, sale, request, etc.) within the CRM function to each call. This is in addition to seeing the source of origin of the call. With these two pieces of information, it is possible for a sales or customer services manager to order and distribute calls across his entire team in a matter of minutes. Managers can attend to a multitude of requests and synchronise tasks that have been registered from calls that were made outside of business hours.
The benefits of 24/7 customer support with a VoIP phone solution
- Convenience & Cost – The biggest benefit of offering 24/7 support is that you provide a more convenient service to your customers. In an always-on world, providing always-on support means your service meets customer expectations, and they can contact you whenever they need you. You can save huge levels of investment by introducing VoIP Phones solutions such as virtual switchboards and forwarding. You can avoid having to pay and manage night-time customer care teams to work through the night on call standby.
- Quicker Response – With a 24/7 support solution in place, your business can keep on top of its support queue which provides for a steadier flow of inbound enquiries, rather than intense inbound calls during restricted customer opening times of 9 am to 5 pm. You can provide faster response responses and resolutions as a result.
- Global Reach – When you offer a 24/7 customer support solution, you instantly invite more customers across wider time zones to access your services. If you’re only offering 9 am to 5 pm support lines during the week then international customers across different markets will struggle to contact your support team and are more likely to abandon your brand. Utilising VoIP communication technologies opens up the opportunity for 24/7 customer service. A business can achieve 24-hour service by spreading out the workforce across time zones or providing VoIP automation processes to accommodate all time zones. This will ensure there is always a call-handling option available no matter the time of day.
- Aligning To Customer Expectations And Needs – The average customer of today expects high levels of support to be available by most credible companies and ideally to be contactable in some way 24 hours a day. Customers are also increasingly impatient about getting what they want when they want it. VoIP phones allow a company to outsource customer support to anywhere in the world. Whether the team is in a contact centre or operating remotely from home, a customer can dial a local number and be connected to a team member wherever they are.
- Call Forwarding Ensures No Call Goes Unanswered – To avoid calls being unanswered, VoIP phone systems can be set up to forward calls to external agencies, allowing companies to spread out the work across the world. VoIP phones can be programmed to offer the customer a call back during downtime or out of core hours. This reduces voicemail reaching capacity, which is time-consuming for customers and team members. With the capability of automated call forwarding to other employees, a customer can reach a specific representative and receive support quickly. Reducing wait times contributes to a reduction in customers’ no returns (customers who simply give up trying to get through or who are put on hold for long periods of time).
- Improved Call Management – With VoIP, you have the benefit of call recording in place. A manager can review a call with an employee and make suggestions for improvements. A call recording or transcription might also become part of training documentation if a team member has done particularly well. Offering a 24/7 VoIP solution, it will allow you access to a variety of data points to monitor call duration and call flow. Notifications can be sent to a manager when call volume increases during peak calling times. This information can help a manager assess staffing requirements and when are the specific peak hours to inform when to have more human-centric team members available. Managers need the right tools to improve processes and measure the effectiveness of your 24/7 customer service approach.
- Integration with your CRM – Another standard feature of VoIP is caller ID. Integration with a CRM can further enhance caller ID with a complete history of the customer, including order information and any recent issues. Calling a customer by name can increase customer rapport and build trust. Some providers will offer ‘CRM Labels’ as part of their VoIP-CRM integration. This provides you with a centralised view of how long calls are taking, for example, to attend to a call complaint vs. the duration required to close a sale call. It is also possible to study what complaints come from each place to discover if, for example, there is a problem with shipments to a specific area. These are two examples of the hundreds of VoIP-CRM feature benefits that can be mentioned and they all start from something as simple as CRM labels. You can automate the linking of call data with your CRM customer profile data. Access to the customer’s history can help a support team to put calls through to the right person quickly.
- Improved efficiency – Calling up information for a customer is a quick process if connections between the phone system and the CRM exist. Access to customer notes can stop the annoying cycle of being put through to person after person and having to repeat the same information over and over again.
Rolling out 24/7 support can also push companies to adopt new technology to improve their support team’s efficiency. When companies first start offering a level of 24-hour support, they look for tools and technology to help them increase their team’s productivity while bringing on new team members. This can mean implementing automated call routing or rolling out automated email responses all of which can be used by other teams in your business as they see the benefits it brings to your support team.
A virtual switchboard is essential to optimise any customer service that seeks to improve its operations.
VoIP phones paired with virtual switchboards provide automation capability. This can be vital in providing a level of 24/7 customer support to meet customer demand and customer expectations. Automating repetitive but time-consuming tasks frees up your support team to tackle more complex tasks. When you’re scaling up to offer always-on customer services support, don’t feel like you need to offer a round-the-clock manned help desk, across all communication channels at once. Focus on the channels where customers expect to hear back from you soonest so that you’re meeting customers’ expectations with your service.
Zadarma is a global leader in providing 24/7 VoIP solutions, popular for its virtual switchboard and PBX offering. Zadarma offers quick and easy integration with other technology and IT tools. It can be connected to a CRM and communication or work applications. You can automate call scenarios for out-of-hours customer service and enter tasks to avoid any time wastage, add tags to calls or set up call routing. A virtual switchboard is a simple way to increase productivity, improve customer and user experience, even out of hours.