There is a common trend for businesses to get rid of the phone as a customer service channel. This trend has gained additional momentum following the covid pandemic as more people work from home, where setting up phone handling for individual employees can be seen as extra work for businesses. However, removing the option for customers to call your business impacts customer service and can make your business less accessible and inclusive towards your customers.
Inclusivity is a hot topic at the moment, but this is not a passing trend. Consumer demand is increasing for businesses to recognise where and how they can be more inclusive and accessible. A phone answering service can help you provide a more inclusive customer service experience.
Read on to find five ways a Telephone Answering Service can make your business more inclusive.
1. The accessibility of technology
In this day and age, it is easy to assume that everyone has access to the internet and that everyone can use it effectively. But this is not the case; many people may not be able to afford reliable internet or the devices to access the internet, such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
Beyond that, there are also many elderly people who are unable to access the internet due to a lack of skills or knowledge in using technology. This has been particularly difficult in emergencies or when a customer is distressed.
It is worth considering how many of your customer base will fall into either category. Then consider how you could lose out as a business by ignoring them, firstly in lost sales due to fear of purchase and secondly, in lost returning customers due to poor service.
2. Improving communication and reducing confusion
Having no phone number for your customers to contact your business can lead to poor communication and confusion. We have all experienced an awful “help” page or Live-chat session where you seem to go around and around in circles for the entirety. It is horrid and does the business no favours at all.
By having a call answering service, you can offer customers the option to call you without the need for reception/customer services staff and without having to put a phone system in place for your work-from-home employees.
This is particularly effective when customers have an issue with their purchase. Handling these issues well can mean the difference between a lost customer and creating a brand advocate.
3. The inclusivity of written words
Some customers may feel uncomfortable or unable to communicate through written messages, making it difficult for them to get the help they need. It is easy to assume that all your customers can communicate effectively through written words, but this is not the case for many.
This could be due to a language barrier – many people who had English as their second language may be able to speak but not write in English effectively. Or this could be due to learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Or they may be unable to confidently or effectively read or write. Businesses often overlook these concerns, but they can be easily resolved through a phone, and a telephone answering service makes this all the easier.
You can ensure all customers can easily reach you and feel welcome by providing a phone number.
4. What about customers with disabilities?
Having no phone number can make it difficult for customers with disabilities to access your business. This is because they may not be able to access the communication options available on your website or social media pages. Additionally, having no phone number means that customers with disabilities may not be able to reach out to your business in an emergency or if they need immediate assistance.
In order to make your business more inclusive for customers with disabilities, we suggest providing a phone number for them to call for assistance. This could be a dedicated customer service line or a general customer service line that is staffed by knowledgeable and patient representatives who can answer questions and provide assistance.
Additionally, this phone number should be displayed prominently on your website and/or social media pages so that customers with disabilities know they can call for help. Suppose you ensure this phone number is set up in text rather than image format. In that case, you can also ensure that website reader software, used by many visually impaired people, will be able to locate and call the number for the person adding to the accessibility of your website and business as a whole.
5. How does a telephone answering service improve your accessibility beyond initial communication?
Having a phone number for your business staffed by experienced call handlers can make it more inclusive for customers beyond simply being able to communicate with you verbally.
Using a telephone answering service allows you to provide your customers with an easy and accessible way to contact you if they need to discuss matters related to their disability. This could include questions about potential accommodations or services and simply having a conversation about their needs. This can help you better serve customers with alternative needs, improving the accessibility and inclusivity of your business.
This added provision for customers with alternative needs not only allows you to support your customers more effectively but it also shows that your business is willing to support accessibility which can do wonders for your customer services rating and overall reputation as a business.
Why using an outsourced telephone answering service might be better for your business?
Using our telephone answering service allows you to have phone lines open for customers 24 hours a day without needing additional staff, which offers additional inclusivity without the additional cost of additional employees.
All our call handlers are also fully trained in managing difficult customer calls and dealing with calls from those with different needs or disabilities. This training and expertise mean we can provide your customers with the best possible customer service without you having to invest in training internal employees.