5 Typical Small Business Call Handling Mistakes

6 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from starmanseries

When you’re the owner of a business, you have to consider the various ways in which you can improve the service you are offering to your customers. One of the routes many small businesses go down to improve the customer service experience is to employ a call handling service team. That way, should a customer wish to order or book something over the phone, ask for more information, or make a complaint, they will get through to a person rather than a machine. This simple notion proves to be a very effective means of ensuring that the customer is always happy and has been known to improve customer retention statistics. Things don’t always go to plan however. Here are five typical small business call handling mistakes that your company could be making.

1.      Sounding like a robot

While answering calls every day for a living may not be everyone’s idea of a hot shot career, the unfortunate truth is that someone has to do it. So many times when companies answer the customer helpline, the person on the other end is left baffled. Why? Because the employee goes through the company call opening spiel at such a rate of knots and in a monotone voice that you can’t always be sure that you’ve called the right place, never mind understanding what they’ve said. Gleaning a name by which to address them is nigh on impossible. Immediately the customer experience has taken a downturn and that’s before you’ve even begun. It may seem like a small thing but any professional telephone answering service like Moneypenny will work extremely hard on getting this part right.

2.      Reading from a script

Many call centre employees are accused of not listening to the person on the other end of the phone. That’s because a lot of call centre employers give their workers a script from which to work through during the phone call to ensure that they have covered every aspect necessary. With that however, comes the inevitability that the call handler will refuse to deviate from the script. So should the person on the other end of the phone ask a question that they were not expecting, they simply choose to ignore it or to repeat what they just said. Having a person to talk to on the other end of the phone is supposed to eliminate this from happening.

3.      Getting irritable with the customer

You’ll often find that the people who ring call centre helplines are the ones who would ordinarily struggle to book or order something online. As such, these people may already have had a disappointing experience with your company website, or may be unaware of how to order online. You have to bear in mind when you’re answering the phone, that these people will not be as well versed in company policy as yourself. So if you are required to explain things more than once, to repeat yourself often, or to talk them through the whole process, then you should try to maintain a calm and friendly approach. Getting annoyed with the customer will only make them angry in turn and less likely to use your services again.

4.      Being over friendly

Have you ever rung a helpline only to be put through to the chattiest, most smiley sounding colleague? While this may seem like a blessing at first, you may find that they start to deviate from the topic very quickly and instead try to find out about your day, what you’re up to later, the names of your grandchildren etc. It is true that some people who call these helplines are lonely and are in need of such chatter, but the majority only want their query to be dealt with and having someone they do not know ask probing questions about them may be off-putting.

5.      Transferring

Many a time I have rang a helpline number only to be told that the number I actually require is different. So you’re given the new number and told to ring that. Upon ringing the new number however, I’m told that I have reached the wrong department and that they will transfer me to someone else who can deal with the call; on and on this charade goes until I hang up frustrated. By supplying your customers with the correct number for each type of query, this is less likely to happen.

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Why You Should Provide Your Employees With Business Cards

2 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from matthew solle 

If you’re the proud owner of your own business then it’s likely you’ll constantly be looking for new ways to expand your customer base and advertise the services offered by your company. One such way to do this quickly and effectively is to ensure that all of your employees have business cards. Now you may be a little sceptical about the notion of providing your employees with a set of business cards each what with the ever-increasing usage of digital technology and the rise of online businesses. To help convince you further, I’ve compiled a list of the reasons why you should provide your employees with business cards. Read on to find out more.

Business cards are essential because…

–          They help your employees to network

One of the top priorities for all business owners of new start-ups is to make the company widely known. After all, knowledge makes profit. If only a handful of people know about the services you offer then you’re unlikely to meet your expected annual profit budgets, unless of course those customers are insanely loyal.

Despite this, it can be hard to do all of the networking by yourself. By providing business cards for all of your employees, you will cast a much wider networking web, drawing in customers from all sorts of places. Think of it as a social media profile. You have your ‘friends’ who can see your profile but then the site suggests others that you may know, based on the friend list of your network, and so on. So by issuing a set of business cards to each employee, that network of friends suddenly multiples in size.

–          They don’t require the use of technology

How many times have you encountered a problem with your smartphone or your tablet or your pc? I’m willing to bet it’s quite a lot. The reason for this is that technology can malfunction, particularly when it’s brand new. Now imagine your entire workforce losing all-important electronic data – it’s a set-back for the company.

Business cards however do not require the use of a smartphone or any other electronic device. You can keep a business card in your wallet or on your desk at work and it will always be there as a referral tool. This little function gives the business card staying power because it’s accessible to just about everyone. You don’t have to be technology-savvy to create them either as there are many pre-made templates on the internet. Visit 123 Print for online business cards that are created quickly and affordably.

–          They are eye-catching

Put your photo on your business card, along with that all-important information detailing the services your company offers, and contact information and you’ll be left with an eye-catching, easy-to-remember business card.

When your employees are sent out to drum up new business, it’s likely that the clients they talk to will receive many a business card from competing companies. But the people they will remember will be the ones who hand them a business card complete with photo and catch tag line.

–          They provide emotional appeal

Forget your need to expand your business for a moment and consider the welfare of your employees. It’s widely known that a happy workforce will be more productive and thus contribute to the success of your business. By issuing business cards to each of your employees, you can appeal to their emotional sides. That’s right, business cards count as an employee benefit, making employees feel worthy. Your staff will take more pride in their work if it is given more of a professional business edge.





How To Put Together An Interesting Menu For Your New Catering Business

13 04 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from soyculto

Have you recently opened a café or restaurant? Or perhaps you’re planning to make your big break in the food industry and hope to become an award winning Michelin star chef? You may simply want to turn your passion for cooking in to your everyday job. Whatever your motivations for starting a catering business, one aspect that is really important to get right the first time around is the menu. People don’t go to a café just to soak up the atmosphere – they go for the tasty food and drink available. Read on to find out how to put together an interesting menu for your new catering business.

Choose a colour scheme to match the style of the establishment

If your restaurant is fancy and you’re serving up haute cuisine, you may wish to opt for dark colours on your menu to convey a sense of seriousness and professionalism. A casual restaurant calls for warm, muted colours that make it look inviting and enticing, while a restaurant aimed at younger clientele calls for a brightly coloured menu with a wackier theme. Making your menu match the style of your restaurant and age range of your expected clientele is a safe bet.

Order your menu logically

It may be obvious but make sure that the order in which you display the dishes you offer is logical. That means that any breakfast dishes must come first, followed by lunch and then the evening should be split into starters, main and desserts. It’s traditional to list drinks last with specialty drinks such as wine or cocktails being listed on a separate card.

Visually section your menu

Break up the different food categories using large and simple headings. Alternatively, list each category of dishes on a separate page. As well as main sections such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, you may require subsections too, such as fish, poultry, vegetarian, pasta, salads.

Make it visually appealing

Add images to your menu to make it visually appealing and show the customers what they can expect from the food you serve. Try not to include too many pictures as they can make a menu seem less elegant. However, if you offer a truly show-stopping dessert, be sure to include it on the dessert section of your menu to entice customers to leave room for pudding.

Price carefully

You want to make sure you take home a profit but you also have to be careful not to overprice your food, or you’ll lose out on customers. A good way to gauge your pricing is to estimate based on food cost and portion control. You could also check out the competition, and if you do happen to have seemingly too high prices, you can use it as an excuse to put on a special happy hour offer on drinks.

Specialty Menus

When the time comes for seasonal holidays, make sure you show your customers that you have their best interests at heart by planning a specialty menu for the occasion. Mother’s Day is a great time to use a specialty menu in addition to your regular menu. You’ll find that many households want to give Mum the day off from cooking a big meal on Mother’s Day. You could even increase customer numbers by giving each Mum her meal for free.

Menu covers

Think about the style of restaurant you’re opening. Will it attract customers with younger kids? In which case, it may be wise to cover your menu so that it is water resistant and can be cleaned easily if any food items drop on it. Protect the edges so that there is no risk of the cover getting torn off and child proof your menus by ensuring they are not sharp cornered.

Make it really easy for customers to order food in your restaurant by placing your selection of menus in a menu holder on each table. UKPoS menu holders are a useful way to store your menus so that your customers have access to all of the food and drink options available in your establishment.