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    The power of one phone call

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    We all know the clich? – ?first impressions really do count?. But now, the statistics back it up. Just one mishandled call is all it takes to damage a company?s reputation in the eyes of the customer, according to new research on the role of the phone in shaping consumer perception by alldayPA.

    An overwhelming majority of the 1,000 people who took part in the survey said they were ready to make ?significant? assumptions about a company from the evidence of a single phone call ?and, more importantly, the success with which the call handler delivers a polite and effective service.

    • Over 70 per cent indicated they?d assess a company?s ability to deliver high-quality customer service on the evidence of a phone call. One unsatisfactory phone call is enough for 71 per cent to view the company concerned as ?poorly run and managed?
    • Calling to complain together with a more general desire to ?resolve an issue? was cited by 70 per cent of respondents as the most likely reason for picking up the phone
    • Over half would call for more information in advance of a purchase (59 per cent) and for after-sales service and support (53 per cent)
    • When they do make a call, a ?human voice? – and not voicemail or an automated system – is important to 71 per cent. The survey demonstrates the value consumers place on basic knowledge and communication skills with 68 per cent pointing to unhelpful and impolite handlers as the most ?annoying? aspects of a poor call handling service 

    The survey also identified an emotional response to the call experience. More than half of the consumers surveyed said they?d assess whether or not company?s staff ?care? about doing a good job from a phone call.

    So it might be an old adage, but those first few seconds really are vital. Are you putting your best foot forward?

    Read the survey in full at bit.ly/1GlwB4R

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson