When recalls happen, set up a recall hotline with an answering service to supercharge your customer service. Recalls can affect any company, from auto dealerships, to electronic shops, to grocery stores (lettuce remind you of the romaine recall that most recently made headlines), so you should formulate a plan in advance to prepare for the inevitable influx of calls.
We’ve seen firsthand how a service like Specialty Answering Service can benefit a company in the midst of a product recall. However, if you’ve never experienced a product recall and think you can answer the calls on your own, think again. 1-2 calls at a time is doable, 1000-2000 calls all at once is a nightmare. If you don’t think you need extra help answering calls during a product recall, we created a list of reasons why your company should use an answering service to handle the extra traffic. Feel free to thank us later.
Recall announcements are usually followed by a blitz of phone calls – AKA an answering services bread and butter. Answering services can handle a ton of calls on any given day. Imagine getting inundated with day to day calls on top of calls about your recall. It’s just not realistic that you’ll be able to handle the call volume while keeping everyone happy.
In terms of customer service, having your callers wait on hold is the cherry on top of a terrible cake – and that cake has unfortunately also been recalled. Just having an answering service in place that can cut down on hold times is definitely a step in the right direction. Even through all the frustration of having to call customer support about a product recall, your customers will be grateful to talk to someone right away who can help them. Trust us.
In addition to handling a high volume of calls, most answering services are available 24/7 (if your service is not, look for a new one). This is especially important if your company distributes products across the nation and/or globe. Since not all of your customers are going to be located in the same time zone as your business, you’ll want to make sure that no matter what time your customers are calling, there will be a friendly voice to answer.
If you would like to try and answer as many calls as possible in house, you can set up conditional call forwarding on your line so that your answering service can handle all of the calls that you can’t get to during business hours, and then handle everything when it’s closing time.
To put it simply, recalls are costly. Not only have you put time and money into creating the product, but now you have to spend extra time and money taking those products back, fixing them, and then redistributing them. On top of that, you’ll also have to provide refunds and credits to your customers as incentive for them to remain your customers. Talk about breaking the bank! However, an answering service is a less expensive alternative than paying your employees over time to stay after hours for who knows how long until the issue is corrected.
Answering services are essentially a branch off of your own business, and can act as such, too. Sure, they can take messages, but they can also transfer calls, answer questions, process returns, place orders for new replacement parts, and essentially give callers the customer service they have come to expect with your company. Since the majority of people calling will be asking questions, getting your FAQs up to date is crucial. Some great examples of helpful FAQs during a recall are:
Pro tip: If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage all client data and/or support tickets, see if your answering service can integrate with your platform. Integrating with a CRM can save you and your employees a lot of time since you won’t have to manually enter in those tickets yourself.
Recalls can affect anyone, so it’s important that you have the proper representation for all of your customers. While not every answering service offers bilingual support, there are many that do. So, if you have a large client base of Spanish speaking callers, you’ll want to make sure they are able to receive great customer support as well.
If your answering service does provide bilingual support, you should see if they can add an automated greeting to your line, like an IVR. That way your callers don’t have to dial different numbers. They can just press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish and be automatically directed to the appropriate person.
If your company is trying to get ahead of the curve and reach out to customers before they call you, answering services can assist with that as well. Whether you need direct mail follow up regarding the recall, or if you’re just making regular phone calls, it would be a good idea to have one line open for inbound calls, and another line specific to making outbound calls. That way you can kill two birds with one stone, or maybe something less morose.
Being proactive about the situation can not only cut down on the inbound calls you will receive, but it may also leave a better taste in your customers’ mouths (quite literally if we’re still talking about the whole lettuce thing).
While the story of the tainted romaine is the latest news in the recall world, it may not be the best example of how an answering service can help save your brand, mainly because the outbreak didn’t stem from one specific brand, only a general location.
From that general location, thousands of romaine hearts were distributed across the country to various vendors like grocery stores, markets, and restaurants, but what phone number are consumers supposed to call for assistance? Sure, they can call the grocery store they bought it from or the restaurant they ate at last night, but it’s not as clear cut as it would be if a company like Ford or Honda shipped out cars that had some sort of defect. So, when handling recalls, make sure your customers know exactly who to call for all of their questions and concerns for streamlined support.