Toll-Free Number: Improving Your Customers’ Experience

When you call an 800 number to get a service, get help, or buy a product, the company gets billed for the call. A toll-free number is a courtesy that companies have extended to their consumers for as many decades. While consumers enjoy being able to talk to a business and not paying a dime, sometimes long waiting periods to get service diminishes the cost-benefit of toll-free numbers.

The internet is full of horror stories of customers who were put on hold for hours on end. Although the lady on the other end of the line told them that their call was valuable, after 30 minutes of waiting, most people knew just how much the business valued its customers.

The end result of being on hold for countless minutes is not surprising. The consumer almost always opts for another company willing to hold up its end of the deal when the lady on the other end says “We will be with you as soon as possible.”

Such incidences are so common, that there are entire companies have divisions tasked with finding out the cost of putting customers on hold. The results are frightening:

Loss of customers: Some estimates show that as a result of putting customers on hold, businesses might be losing as much as 32% in revenue. That’s because customers who call businesses are often in the purchasing phase of the buying cycle.

Loss of customer loyalty: Many surveys showed that a significant percentage of customers indicated that they went for an alternative after being put on hold for an extended duration. The fact that the phone call was free did not deter them from jumping over to a competitor.

Bad reputation: Companies that tended to put customers on hold tend to develop a negative image online which affects their bottom line, especially when such unflattering information tends to go viral on social media.

Getting a Hold of Your Toll-Free Number

Even a slightly popular business with a toll-free number will have its lines tangled up by the sheer volume of calls coming in. Ever since AT&T launched the first 800 toll-free numbers in 1967, the lines have experienced considerable traffic, so much so that a number of innovations were introduced to deal with the congestion. Today there’s the voice response system that asks the customer to press one for this or press two for that. But, even with all the innovations surrounding toll-free numbers, the customer is still getting frustrated. They are spending more time on the phone than they would want.

To reign in your toll-free numbers and get a hold of calls coming into your business, here are a few things you can do to make customers happy and avoid the nightmarish outcomes mentioned earlier.

1. Keep Customers Informed

While greeting customers with a friendly voice and soothing music might have worked for a while. Customers today need more than just simple assurances. Make sure anyone calling your toll free number knows approximately how long it will take to speak to a real person.

2. Leverage Emerging Technologies

Technology platforms such as Twilio are making toll free numbers a lot easier for businesses and their customers. Twilio and other platforms have incorporated toll-free numbers to handle both voice and text data. Using such platforms decreases the volume of voice data coming on the line. Your human agents free to handle voice inquiries.

These are just some of the solutions you can adopt today to allow your customers to reap the benefits of your toll-free number.