Customer Relations: 4 Tips for Evaluating What Your Business is Doing Right and Wrong After Hours…and How to Fix Any Issues
Sure, you deliver outstanding service during business hours. But what happens on the weekends, the evenings, or in the middle of the night? Since we live in a 24/7 world, often times people look for the products and services they need after hours. So, how does your business measure up?
Here are four things to check.
1. How does your after-hours voice mail sound? Does your voice mail clearly state your hours of operation? If you have a company directory, is it easy to access and follow? Does the voice mail provide important information, such as your website? You want your after-hours voice messaging to be friendly, clear, and efficient. Avoid complex paths and number prompts. The best way to test it is to have a couple of friends or family members try out the system. Give your testers a specific task, such as contacting support, and see how easily they’re able to accomplish this task. Listen to their feedback, and adjust the system accordingly.
2. What’s the process for after-hours support requests and/or emergencies? Some businesses, such as IT and emergency services (e.g. veterinary offices), offer emergency contact info. How does this process work? You should make sure this information is available in multiple areas: through your after-hours voice mail that we mention above, but this info should also be in a prominent location (or multiple locations) on your website and, ideally, on various social media, like Facebook. Remember, when people have an emergency, they may be nervous, upset, and not thinking clearly, which is why you need to offer this information in multiple locations and make it as clear as possible.
The other thing to check is this: once people have the emergency information they need, how easy is that whole process? Test it yourself if you have to. Call the support number or send an email and see how well your staff responds.
3. How fast does your staff respond to non-emergency messages and emails that are left after-hours? Again, the best way to find out is to test this. Submit a fake name through a form on your website, and have a family member leave a fake name/message on a voice mail. If your staff doesn’t follow up as fast as you’d like, use it as a teachable moment and provide some fresh training.
4. Do the marketing messages you use in your after-hours communications reflect the messages you use during business hours? For example, if one of the messages you promote is how fast you respond to customer calls and requests, how do you handle this message during off-hours and on weekends? We’re not suggesting you need to have someone on staff 24/7 to field calls and emails. You just want to make sure you’re not promising one thing and delivering another. So, in this example, be clear: “We respond to all requests made during business hours within 2-3 hours. We respond to all requests made after hours within half a day.” (You get the idea.)
How about you? Have you ever evaluated how your business works after hours? What are some things you test? Share in the comments.