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Five things to check in your phone system

 

After more than 30 years in telecommunications and more than 20 years installing and programming phone systems I am constantly amazed by some of the very common mistakes companies still make with their business phone system.

Like, really common mistakes.

If you want to upset your customers then don’t bother reading the rest of this post…

If you care about customer service or what your callers think then read on.

In no particular order;

Number 1:

Automated Attendant Greetings that go nowhere, and Automated Attendant Greetings that go everywhere.  Let’s address these.

AA greetings that go nowhere. A call into your main company number gets answered by an automated attendant greeting offers menu options, which when pressed, don’t go anywhere, or worse, go straight to voice mail.

Press “1” for service and your call gets hung up.

Press “1” for service and your call just rings and rings

AA greetings that go everywhere. This one really gets me. I hate calling some companies, particularly the bigger organisations. You feel like you’re lost in voice mail hell. Menu options, menu options, menu options. Are you tired of menu options? Maybe you should review your AA greetings.

Consider how many choices you really need off the top level. In most cases, Sales, Service, Accounts and General Enquiries will suffice. If you are a service company that looks after multiple brands then use multiple phone numbers. This is what car companies do for their roadside assistance. They mostly end up at the same call centre but each brand has a separate phone number and customised menu options.

In a past life I was once commissioned to design an auto attendant for a Queensland State Government department that consisted of 8 options with 7 options under each of the 8 so 56 possible destinations. Do you get the impression they didn’t actually want to answer calls? Fortunately common sense prevailed and this never got implemented.

Number 2:

Automated Attendant greetings that sound like they were recorded by your mother. Unless she was a recording professional this is not a good idea. To some organisations this is a complete afterthought. Despite this being on the pre-install checklist, frequently my techs and I end up sitting down with the company receptionist to record the greetings. In a few cases they do sound reasonable but in most cases not regardless of how many takes you do.

Sometimes nobody wants to do the recording and it’s my voice that ends up on there. If I sounded like John Laws then I could probably get away with it but I don’t so the end result isn’t particularly good and is best regarded as temporary until a proper recording can be uploaded.

The greeting. The voice. Ouch.

That’s your company’s image. It’s the first thing people hear when they call into your company!

We work with several companies that either charge a recurring fee which entitles you to multiple changes or who charge a fixed fee per recording.

Number 3:

When you press “0” you should always always always always get a live body.

No live body around – find one.

Did I make this point clear? Always have a live person available at the other end of a “0” out. And don’t make it so difficult for your callers to get live assistance. Some companies, despite best recommendations otherwise, don’t even offer their callers the option of pressing “0” !

Unless you’re the Government, you will never get away with this although have you tried calling the ATO recently? They tell you they have too much traffic to handle and tell you to call back without the option to leave a message

Number 4:

Hold Times Do Matter
No, it’s not OK for your callers to wait on hold for 5 minutes. Again, unless you’re the Government or giving away money, people won’t wait. Or, if they have to wait, once they get off hold they won’t be happy.

Sure, you can install an ACD queue. Install all of the metrics you can find. Monitor them, and staff it appropriately to make sure your callers are answered promptly. If you’re not doing this then I can assure you, your competitors are.

The telephone system cannot make up for not having enough staff for the volume of calls being presented. Telephone traffic calculation is an exact science and the mathematical formulas developed over a century ago are still valid today.

Number 5:

Static on your radio station or “beep beep” when you get put on hold.

Go ahead. Call your company. Ask someone to put you on hold. What do you hear ?

A constant stream of beep beep … Maybe static on your radio station when put on hold or Greensleeves with chimes?

Fix it.

Every phone system has a music on hold port. We provide a generic music program interspersed with holding announcements for every phone system we install but a properly recorded program with information about your company, a new product or a current special works so much better.

The same companies that can help you with professional recordings for your auto attendants can also help you with music on hold recordings and players.

I could probably go on and on. There are probably another 10 more “DO NOT DO’s” but these are the first 5 that spring to mind.

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