Call handling comes into question

Bodyshops’ call handling standards have come into question as the result of a new study into telephone practice.

The research conducted by audio branding specialist PHMG, which audited 255 firms in the bodyshop and garages trade, discovered the large majority risk losing custom by subjecting customers to generic music and audio while on hold.

Typically, waiting on hold is seen as a major bugbear but 32% of bodyshops still leave customers listening to nothing but generic music. The same number (32%) subject callers to beeps while 25% leave them in silence and six per cent force them to listen to ringing.

Only four per cent employ brand-consistent voice and music messaging – viewed as the best practice approach to handling calls – although this is higher than the national average of two per cent.

Mark Williamson, sales and marketing director at PHMG, said, ‘Call handling remains a critically undervalued element of customer service and marketing. A previous study of 1,000 UK consumers found 73% will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled satisfactorily.

‘Therefore, it is important companies do their utmost to improve the experience. Bodyshops appear to be performing better than the majority of British businesses in this respect but there is still work to be done in providing an experience that keeps callers engaged and entertained.

‘Generic music, beeps, ringing or silence convey a message that the customer is not valued, which will only serve to compound any annoyance felt as a result of being made to wait on hold.”

The research also found 95% of bodyshops do not even use auto attendant messaging to greet customers who call up outside of normal working hours.