Customer service is the one biggest reason that consumers support one business over another. Initial sales can be influenced by price, merchandising and advertising. These are important for attracting customers but repeat business keeps the doors open. The difference between a business that thrives and a business that fails is seldom more complicated than the happiness of the customer base.

Shopping Calls
These calls are prompted by the need to buy a product. It might be a luxury or a grudge purchase, but the caller will be looking for a pleasant interaction and a good deal. Shopping calls may be prompted by an advertisement.

Important aspects of these calls are speaking to an empowered, informed agent who is polite. Agents who listen and adapt to the caller are most effective.

Advice Calls
This type of call is prompted by the need for more details or information. The information might be about a location, a product or for instructions on how to use or take care of a purchase. The purchase could be anything from an insurance product to an aeroplane.

Callers react best when they are able to speak to an agent who understands the query. Information should be provided in a format that the customer is comfortable with. This could be verbal, email, hardcopy or something else.

Service Calls
These calls are very common. Service calls are made to book or confirm appointments, request confirmation of deals or transactions, chase deliveries of parcels, report damaged items, report faults or to find out about how to assemble or care for an item.

Transactional calls made to financial instituations are service calls. These are made to cancel or setup regular payments, report lost cards or query debit or credits.

These calls are best dealt with in an efficient manner. Guidelines should be in place and followed to ensure thar the right information is provided at the right time. Service calls that provide incorrect or incomplete information are very likely to generate repeat contacts and even complaints.

Information calls
Customers often require specific information which might not be available elsewhere. Calls are made to get information about allergies, storing or using an item under different circumstances, or about safety concerns. These calls also include itinery calls, checking luggage allowances, confirming current customs allowances and requesting product information from a manufacturer or about a local distributor.

Information calls require careful handling as accurate information must be provided. Incorrect information can cause risk to the business.

Emergency Calls
Unexpected events and accidents are stressful. These calls are made to source help or advice in urgent situations. These calls are made to Emergency Services, Breakdown Services, insurance companies, fraud lines, travel agents and embassies.

Emergency calls should be answered immediately. The person answering the call should be able to deal with the request or quickly signpost to other teams. Dialling the right number is vital. An insurance company, for example, should be contacted through the emergency number rather than the usual number.

Complaint Calls
In an ideal world, complaint calls would not exist. Many complaints raised to businesses involve poor customer experience as part of the complaint. Most business sectors are required to provide a clear complaints Process for customers who want to complain. In most instances, escalation details are included in this process.

Most sectors have a body that oversees activities. When a complaint is deadlocked, the business and the customer have failed to resolve the problem. In these cases, the relevant body may be contacted.

Before escalating the complaint, do check that requirements have been met. Often, it is only required that the business has been notified of the complaint and has been allowed a fair amount of time to put things right.

Before the Call

Although reasons for making business calls are varied, they all have one thing in common. Each and every call requires that number is dialled to initiate the contact.

Callers may take some steps that could improve the call process. This would involve steps like having a pen and paper to hand, allowing adequate time, having policy, reference or other numbers to hand.

The single most important thing that a customer can do is taking a moment to ensure that the number dialled is the best one to deal with the specfic query.

The Role of Customer Service Guides

Customer Service Guides are online services that aim to help callers reach the right business, in the right area. These services aim to connect callers to the right department or person as efficiently as possible. The method used is through a searchable online business directory.

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