Do you really need 24/7 telephone support for your business? Isn’t it a bit… excessive?

We’re a busy species. Our days are mostly filled with work or other responsibilities. Being able to fix certain problems out-of-hours over the telephone makes life a lot easier.

Imagine this situation: an individual loses their card while on holiday and has no other means to get cash. If their bank’s phone lines are closed at the time of the incident, that person will be left in the lurch.

The consequence for the business is a terrible customer experience and a hit to its reputation.

Adding a 24-hour helpline to your business will make you dependable. How accessible you are determines a large portion of your customer loyalty. The customer benefits and so does your bottom line.

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We know 24-hour support lines benefit businesses because so many big players are using them. Uber was recently in the headlines for creating day-and-night telephone support for bad passenger experiences (e.g. a minor crash)

“Whenever there’s an issue like an incorrect cancellation fee, riders and drivers alike often find it’s easy and simple to get it sorted through the app. But drivers and riders have told us that they would like the option to give us a call, especially if something more serious happens.”

You might be offering support through live chat or an app like Uber’s. You probably invite customers to email you if they have a problem. This gives them instant access to you, which is great.

The thing is, what if your customers can’t talk to a live agent when they need to? They shouldn’t have to leave voicemails or emails in an emergency.

With a helpline that’s manned 24/7, callers can speak to one of your customer support representatives quickly.

Even if the caller has a less dramatic issue – a problem with your product, for example – a nonstop helpline can elevate your customer experience.

Satisfied customers will net you more sales. It will boost your reputation and create a buzz around your biz. Also, let’s not forget that solving problems faster will speed up the sales cycle.

So your aim here is to enable fluid, real-time conversations to solve problems in a jiffy through an around-the-clock phone service.

Feeling motivated to set up your telephone helpline? Good. This is what you need to run one effectively:

  • Phone service
  • A customer support team
  • Technical training for your staff
  • A strategy for high-volume call traffic

Let’s begin by looking at your phone service in detail.

Getting Started

First things first, your telephone number.

Using an 0800 number (also known as a freephone number) for your business support line has three major benefits:

  • It conceals your geographic location
  • Gives you a national presence
  • It’s free to call

You can also project the impression of a larger business with a freephone number; a lot of big companies use an 0800 prefix for their customer support line. Take Apple and Selfridges, for example.

65% of people are more likely to call when it’s free of charge; your accessibility is very attractive.

Put Your Number in the Line-light

You might have a customer support number now but that doesn’t mean you can put your feet up.

Publicising your new digits is your next step. If you don’t, you may as well not have a number. For maximum coverage, publish your number on the following:

  • Your website’s ‘Contact Us’ page
  • Your product packaging
  • Marketing emails
  • Marketing campaign signage
  • Event signage
  • Adverts
  • Social media profiles

Also, harness the power of word-of-mouth. Make sure your entire workforce is aware of your new number and it will be shared in organic ways.

Advertise your new business support line effectively and your customers should have no difficulty in finding your details.

A Supreme Support Team

Your customer support team is the face of your business. Will it be smiley or sullen? If your staff are offering poor support, its likely to be the latter.

76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them – 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey

Ensure your callers experience a slick, customer-orientated 24/7 telephone service by hiring skilled staff with great attitudes. Here are some core qualities to look out for:

  • Passion for helping people
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The ability to be cool under pressure
  • Multitasking skills
  • Strong sense of team spirit
  • Can work autonomously

It can be easy to overlook a passion for customer service when the candidate looks perfect on paper.

The thing is, genuine enthusiasm to help people can make the difference between a brilliant or average employee. When your team shares the same positivity and motivation, this creates a sweet morale boost. The side effect is a kick-ass customer experience which does beautiful things for your reputation.

Mould your role specifications around your best business values for happier callers.

Cracking Call Handlers are Well-Trained

Follow the above and your customer support team will be tip-top… almost. Your staff now need training surrounding your product or service. This gives them the power to offer not only good customer support but correct fixes to problems.

Your team might need to know the product inside out to help customers properly. Give them this knowledge by allowing them to test your devices. For easy resolutions, give them a cheat sheet so they can recall specifics if they need to.

If your customer service agents need to access your systems to solve problems, they’ve got to know their tools.

For example, let’s say an order has been delayed. The employee needs to access the e-commerce back-end (the catalog order entry system) to help the caller.

Thanks to proper training, the agent knows how to access information in the system that the customer can’t. They can give a specific cause and then take relevant action to solve the issue in the system.

Ticket system Zendesk offers its own training programs. Check to see if your software provider can give your telephone helpline team something similar for skill-building opportunities.

When Your Call Agents Are Swamped

“I’m sorry, no one is available to take your call right now.”

If you’ve been listening to on-hold music for the past ten minutes, this is the last thing you want to hear.

Respect your customers’ time by preparing a strategy for your busiest periods. In the process, you’ll also help your team feel calm, not flustered.

A lot of our customers use our interactive voice response (IVR) system to manage an influx of calls. It collects caller information in advance and routes them to the correct department (even the 999 call service does this).

When 89% of consumers are frustrated by having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives, IVR not only cuts down call times but makes your telephone support experience much easier for the customer (and call handler).

If certain issues have easy fixes, you could even go fully self-service. Customers can solve problems by picking the right options and listening to information rather than speaking to a live agent.

Here’s another great coping strategy for when calls ramp-up: outsource your call overflow.

Especially if you’re an e-commerce business with an international customer base, getting additional cover during holiday periods or to accommodate different times zones is a smart way to manage the mayhem.

Here’s My Number, So Call Me Maybe

You now know how to set up 24-hour telephone support. Operating a day-and-night business support line means you can help your customers exactly when they need it.

With well-trained support agents who love their roles, you can rest easy knowing top-notch caller experiences are elevating your reputation.

When 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience, you can almost guarantee that a 24/7 exceptionally manned telephone helpline will do fantastic things for your business.

Get the ball rolling today by purchasing a freephone number that matches your needs exactly.