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What’s the longest you’ve ever had to wait on hold? 

“Too long,” would probably be the answer for most. When you’re trying to get through to a company or organisation on the phone, having to wait can make time really drag. It’s the same for your customers, with a third of consumers report it’s the most frustrating part of getting customer service help (HubSpot).  

It’s no surprise when a long wait results in abandoned calls, but that’s not the only struggle customers have to contend with when trying to contact a company’s sales team or customer services. Sometimes calls are disconnected by phone systems due to technical issues or they’re missed due to agents being unavailable. 

Whatever the reason behind missed calls, they aren’t just an inconvenience – they could be costing your businesses more than you think. A missed call can mean a missed sale, of course, but the negative impacts can extend far beyond that. 

People talk 

Being hard to get a hold of can hurt a brand’s reputation. Customers expect great service as quickly as possible and are unlikely to give companies second chances, especially against a tough economic backdrop that means every penny spent has to bring as much value as possible. 

Once someone has a poor experience, word gets around. Unhappy customers will share their experience with 16 to 24 people (Aircall) and one bad online review can influence up to 30 potential prospects (Gadget Review). These poor experiences will also lead existing customers elsewhere. Around a third of customers will stop interacting with a brand they once loved after one bad experience (PWC). If these continue, 80% of consumers would switch to a competitor (Zendesk). 

Knowing how quickly customer sentiments can turn sour is scary. However, minimising missed calls and their impact can be achieved through simple solutions. Upgrading to the right digital phone system makes managing calls much easier, allowing your staff to deliver great service that customers have come to expect. 

What difference does digital make? 

So, what sets digital phone systems apart? Also known as hosted telephony or hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), these phone systems run over the internet rather than traditional copper wires, bringing the added benefits of being more flexible and containing a wide range of features that make for a better customer experience. 

Instead of being tied to one location, calls to VoIP systems can be taken from a range of devices such as mobiles and laptops as well as IP handsets. All it takes is loading the software onto the desired device. This means the call comes straight to the user rather than having the user go to the phone, which is especially handy for employees working flexibly or remotely. 

Auto attendant features provide call routing options for different areas of the company. They can also be used to create announcements about important business details such as special opening hours or where customers can find help or information when the office is closed. 

Digital phone systems are also capable of intelligent call routing. This feature identifies the customer and their reason for calling then puts them in contact with the agent most capable of handling their query. Putting someone in touch with the person they need right away will end up saving a lot of time for both the caller and company, and customers see the ability to resolve issues quickly as one of the top aspects of a good customer experience. Companies with excellent customer service enjoy repeat customers too, with 93% more likely to make another purchase (HubSpot). 

Unfortunately, queues can’t always be avoided. What can make the wait easier is knowing how long it will be. VoIP systems can offer queue announcements, telling your customers their position in the queue and how long it will take until they can speak to an agent. From there, they can make the decision whether to wait or call back another time. 

Another great feature is callbacks, which allow the caller to hang up the phone without losing their place in the queue. They can continue with their day until they reach the front of the line, when they’ll receive a call from the agent. 

On top of all the features that make managing calls easier, many cloud communications platforms are less prone to outages than older systems. They often feature built-in business continuity and disaster recovery, so businesses experience less downtime, if any, and are always ready to serve customers. 

If missed calls are costing your business, making sure your customers’ calls are handled as quickly and efficiently as possible should be top priority. Similar to the way bad customer service can have detrimental knock-on effects to a business, great customer service leads to even greater rewards. Companies enjoy repeat purchases, increased brand loyalty and positive reviews that will only attract more customers. A digital phone system with the right features might not solve all customer queries, but it’s the best way to put them in touch with someone who can.