Even though the Internet and e-mail have risen to become major means of communication, the more old-fashioned method of calling people on the phone hasn’t fallen out of favor. In fact, speaking on the phone with a live person is a skill that many people value, and most people inherently trust and value authentic human communication like this. But this goes beyond personal phone calls; businesses base a lot of their profits on customer service and speaking to business clients and partners over the phone, and this affects their bottom line. Inbound sales call centers, outbound sales calls, and more require verbal skills, and workers there may drastically affect a company’s profits. It costs much more to bring on board a new customer than to keep a current one, so it’s vital to not only find new customers but treat current ones well. Better still, phone service doesn’t have to be done at a call center; customer service jobs, representative jobs, and more can be done at home, and an in home agent can do a lot of good for a company. In some cases, an in home agent is an independent contractor, and these may provide flexible careers for moms who can’t easily leave their residences. Even technical support for customers can be provided by in home agents.
The Power of the Phone
There are plenty of statistics to show just how important phone conversations are for both customers and for businesses, and there are some trends showing how customers react to good or bad customer service. In fact, customers who have had the best experiences over the phone or in person with a company may spend 140% more than those who had the worst experiences. Customers tend to be more loyal to brands and companies, and spend more on them, when they get good customer service. Deep down, these customers may feel valued and appreciated, and this makes them more willing to spend money out of gratitude. On a more surface level, customers may be impressed by good customer service, and this gives them faith that the company will deliver a good product or service. Conversely, even just one instance of bad customer service in person or over the phone may cause a customers to back out of an in-progress transaction or decide to not spend money at all. Customers expect good treatment, and it may not take much bad treatment to completely drive them away. Business managers know this, and they work hard to ensure that their employees are always treating customers well.
Phone and live web chat service is a key part of business, and the numbers show it. Businesses who manage to increase their customer retention rates by as little as 5% may expect a profit increase ranging from 25-95%, a considerable return on their efforts. And it should be noted that it’s much more expensive and difficult to get a new customer on board than keep a current one, so retaining current customers is a price-efficient way to get more sales done. It can be an expensive mistake to treat a current customer badly on the phone, then have to work long and hard to replace them. There are many strategies for how call center employees or in home agents use to treat their customers, and these tactics revolve around establishing a rapport, a friendly demeanor, and listening carefully to determine the customer’s interests and spending capacity.
In Home Agents
More and more employees, whether on the payroll or independent contractors, are working from the privacy and convenience of their own homes, often in dedicated home offices. Why is this? For one, one’s own home is free of the distractions and illnesses of the office, and working from home cuts out commute time from one’s schedule, opening up time for extra work. Today’s phone services, Internet Cloud storage, and live video chat make it easier than ever to work remotely. In other cases, these in home agents are independent contractors who are unwilling or even unable to regularly visit an office space during the day, so they can get it both ways by contributing work and staying at their residence. Single parents may often do this, for example.