When Your Phone is Part of the Job
Despite the rise of the Internet and e-mail, conversations over the telephone and live web chat are still essential for business communication. A large part of any company’s sales funnel may be based on having quality conversations with customers over the phone or live web chat, and a lot of money may be earned or lost based on how well employees perform over the phone. What sort of work today involves speaking with customers or business clients over the phone, anyway? Business representative jobs often involve phone conversations, and inbound sales and outbound sales call centers are heavily phone based as well. Meanwhile, it should be noted that if an employee is working over the phone and not working with clients in person, working from home is very much an option, such as in a dedicated office room in the house. This work with flexible hours may appeal to many, and work from home customer service may be a great option for customer service jobs off the company’s premises. One could work from home on phones if they are a single parent who cannot easily leave the house, for example, and flexible careers for moms may be based on the phone or live web chat. To work from home on phones may be a lucrative career in the short or long term.
The Power of the Phone
Whether someone chooses to work from home on phones or work at a sales call center, they are taking part in a vital component of the business’s profits and performance. As mentioned above, phone conversations are a key part of getting new customers and keeping current ones, not to mention establishing and keeping good relationships with business clients and business partners. Even in today’s wired world, people still care very much about how they are treated by others in person and over the phone, and this is certainly true whether an employee will work from home on phones or at a busy sales call center. The human element ties directly into a business’s capacity to make sales and maintain a profit.
There are some trends and statistics being kept to show how much of an affect live customer service can have on a business. Customers, for their part, will often turn their backs on a company after just one instance of poor customer service, and conversely, they may be very impressed and happy by good customer service and may spend more than they normally would. To show the former point in numbers, some 78% of consumers in the United States have backed out of a transaction or decided not to spend money after they had just one instance of bad customer service. On the other hand, some 86% of customers will spend more money for better customer service, and customers who had the best experiences will spend about 140% more compared to customers who had worse experiences. It’s possible that customers are willing to spend more money on a company after receiving good customer service out of a sense of gratitude for feeling appreciated and valued. More consciously, these customers are bound to be impressed by good customer service and therefore have more faith that the company can deliver a good product or service, so money may be spent more easily.
Businesses and their managers and marketers, meanwhile, are quite familiar with the power of the human element over the phone. Already, statistics show that good customer service leads to more customer retention, which in turn leads to more profit. In general, businesses which boost their customer retention rates by as little as 5% or so may see profit growth as high as 25-95%, an impressive return. Why is this? New customers are more expensive to bring on board than maintaining existing ones, so losing few customers means not needing to spend so much money replacing them with new ones.
Customer service strategy is fairly complex for a call center employee, but there are other options, too. A crowded call center may be too noisy to work in, so some employees, often independent contractors, work from home. There, they have few if any distractions, and this is convenient for independent contractors who can’t easily leave their homes to work for hours elsewhere.