Do you know why your customers call? Is it because they need help with a reservation or because they want to ask a question about their experience? If you’re not sure, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many business owners don’t know why most customers call. But understanding the top reasons can help reduce phone wait times, decrease customer service costs, and improve the customer experience.
Let’s review the most common customer service questions that small businesses get, and go over some tips on how to improve your voicemail process, saving you time, money, and headaches.
As with any customer service call, it's important to be friendly and helpful, no matter how busy you are. If you're swamped with calls and can't get to them all right away, make sure your voicemail service is set up and ready to take messages. That way, you can return calls ASAP, and remain available during lunch breaks or busy moments. By understanding the most common customer service questions for your specific business and industry as a whole, you can be better prepared to handle calls and improve your business's voicemail experience.
Why guests call: Reservations, questions about their stay, problems with their room
Customers call hospitality businesses to make a reservation or ask a question about their stay. Potential guests want to know if your business is the right fit for their needs, and may prefer to use the phone rather than go straight to your website or app. Ever seen a hotel that looks incredible online but when you call to check availability, the person on the other line is less than enthusiastic? By providing helpful and friendly customer service over the phone, you can solidify a great brand image in your potential customer's mind and increase the chances that they will book a stay with your business.
Equally, existing guests may need assistance with something during their stay. Room service, more pillows, a rollaway bed, an extension on their checkout time – these are all common requests that your team should be prepared to handle, and that can be automated with intelligent voice assistant technology.
Why guests call: Questions about the menu, dietary restrictions, reservations
The most common calls restaurants receive are to make reservations, place orders, or modify existing reservations. Customers may also want to find out if reservations are required, what your hours are, or if you require reservations for parties of a certain size. Ordering takeout is one of the main customer service questions that restaurants experience, and streamlining this process, especially during rush hours, is one of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction rates. Imagine having your phone, voicemail, and restaurant POS system all connected as a part of one connected restaurant tech stack.
Customer service complaints are also a leading reason for restaurant phone calls. From long wait times to cold food, there are a variety of issues that can arise during the dining experience. It's important to take customer complaints seriously and work quickly to resolve the issue. Being able to do this efficiently over a phone call allows you to attend to customer complaints without having to wait for the customer to come back to the restaurant.
The key to designing an effective voicemail experience is to understand your target audience and what they want from your business. Are they looking for information about your services? Are they trying to make a reservation? Do they need help with something during their stay? Your voicemail should address the most common issues on your customer's mind and provide actionable steps to take when you're not able to get to the phone yourself.
“Leave us a message, and we'll get back to you" is not going to cut it with today’s digital-savvy customers. A great voicemail will do most of the work for you without you having to call back each customer individually.
Be sure to mention your business's name at the beginning of the message so that customers know they've called the right number. This is especially important if you have a common name or if your business shares a phone number with other businesses.
Think of this step as the Holy Grail of voicemail tips. Your voicemail should provide your customers with actionable steps to take when you're not available. For example, if you're a restaurant and a customer is trying to make a reservation, you might say "To make a reservation, please say or enter your contact number and a booking link will be sent to your phone". Providing these next steps gives your customers a sense of control and helps to ensure that their needs are met, even when you're not available.
When it comes to voicemails, less is definitely more. Keep your message short, sweet, and to the point. In the same vein, you might want to have different voicemail recordings for different times of day. For example, you might have one message for after-hours calls and one for calls during business hours.
The call to action is the last thing your customer will hear, so make sure it's clear and concise. For example, you might say "Thank you for choosing ABC Hotel. We look forward to speaking with you soon." This tells the customer that their call is important to you and that someone will be getting back to them shortly. The main caveat here is not to make promises you can't keep. If you don't think you'll be able to return the call within a reasonable amount of time, don't say so in the message. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Your voicemail should reflect the overall tone and voice of your brand. If you're a luxury hotel, your voicemail should use a professional tone. If you're a casual restaurant, your voicemail should be personable without being too informal. This is not the time to get cutesy or try to be funny – i.e. forget the pre-recorded Batman voice messages. Stick to something straightforward and on-brand.
Voicemail is a tool for strengthening customer relationships and growing brand awareness. Streamline your voicemail experience to address the top customer service questions and improve customer service satisfaction so that your customers will keep coming back.
If you're thinking about how to provide excellent customer service for your small business, you probably haven't considered that there's a way to never miss a single call again. Slang.ai is a 24/7 virtual phone assistant that answers your customer’s most common questions so that you can focus on running your growing business.