Why Customers HATE Having their Call Transferred & What to Do About It
A survey by Consumer Reports found that a whopping 70 percent of customers become highly upset — and some outright hate it — when they hear the following phrase (or a variation): “I need to transfer your call.”
What’s behind this dread and loathing? Surely, it can’t be the simple act of transferring a call. After all, customers don’t have to lift a finger, and transfers are instant. There must be something else that infuriates customers.
It’s not that customers inherently hate having their call transferred, it’s that they hate what usually happens after their call is transferred: instead of speaking to a human being, they end up being placed on hold for who knows how long.
So, what’s the solution to this extremely common problem? It’s a remarkably handy cloud phone system feature called PRESENCE.
Presence allows customer service reps (or any other employee) to instantly see the real-time status of colleagues, including those who are working remotely. A green dot indicates that a colleague is logged into the system and available, a red dot indicates that a colleague is logged into the system but currently unavailable, and a grey dot indicates that a colleague isn’t logged into the system.
To appreciate just how useful this cloud phone system feature is, and how it can prevent customer frustration and fury, consider this scenario before presence:
A customer calls and asks a complex and uncommon technical question about a product, which the customer service rep cannot readily answer. Per the established workflow, the customer service rep tells the customer “I’ll need to transfer your call to our technical support department.” After the transfer, the customer is put on hold for 15 minutes without any option to leave a voicemail or request a callback. By the time the technical support department picks up the call, the customer is extremely agitated. That is when things can and usually do get costly because research by Zendesk has found that after a bad customer service experience:
- 58% of customers stopped buying from the company
- 52% of customers switched to a different company for that product or service
- 52% of customers told others not to buy that product or service
- 48% of customers were unlikely to consider that company when making future purchases.
Now, let’s look at this scenario after presence:
A customer calls and asks a complex and uncommon technical question about a product, which the customer service rep cannot readily answer. Per the established workflow, the customer service rep knows that she needs to transfer the call to the technical support department.
However, before she does, she glances at her screen and sees that all six members of the technical support department are busy (i.e. they have red dots beside their names). As such, she tells the customer:
“I’ll need to transfer your call to our technical support department. However, I am checking right now and can see that all of our technical specialists are currently busy. I can send a note right now and ask the first available technical specialist to call you back. I can transfer your call directly to the technical support department’s voicemail box, and you can leave a detailed message. Or if you prefer, I can transfer you right now and your call will be answered by the next available technical specialist.”
The addition of presence has transformed this interaction and made it much more customer-focused. The customer now has options and can select the one that fits them best. And even if they choose to stay on hold, they will KNOW that this is going to happen and have AGREED to it — and that can make all the difference between a calm customer and an angry one.
In addition to the above, presence is also a great performance monitoring tool. If supervisors and managers routinely see that an employee is logged out (grey dot) or busy (red dot), they can look into the matter. Perhaps the employee:
- Is routinely occupied with other high-priority tasks that make them unavailable/busy.
- Needs coaching on how to use the cloud phone system and toggle their presence status.
- Is deliberately avoiding calls.
Or, supervisors and managers may notice that a specific team member is almost always available (green dot), but that his colleagues are often busy (red dot). There might be a perfectly legitimate reason for this…or there might not be! Either way, the situation can be investigated and resolved.
To see Presence in action — along with other extremely useful cloud phone system features — contact us today and schedule a live guided demo, which we can deliver over-the-web.
Call us at (336) 850-5400 or chat with us during business hours by clicking the chat icon on the lower-right of your screen. We are a local Greensboro, North Carolina-based business with over 100 5-star reviews!