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Posts from June 2017

It's a truth universally acknowledged that few things irritate a customer more than being put on hold - not surprising when you consider a rather scary US study found that the average American consumer spends 43 days during their lifetime on hold (Business2Community). 
So what can you do to minimise the frustration caused to those customers who are trying to contact you?  
Well, the ideal solution is to avoid putting them on hold at all. There are a few different ways to achieve this: 
Invest in more customer service staff - obvious, but of course not always practicable, not least because of the cost of employing more staff, and the difficulty of finding a balance between having sufficient staff when it's busy and a surplus when it's quiet. 
Have a very detailed, wide-ranging list of FAQ on your website - the ideal solution is to answer just about all the questions your customers could possibly have, on your website, thereby minimising the number of people who ever need to call you. Don't forget to make sure that your FAQ are easy to find.  
Add live chat to your website - a customer service representative can deal with up to four customers simultaneously via live chat but only one customer on the phone. Plus many customers, particularly younger ones, prefer online interaction to a phone call.  
Offer to call back - nearly two-thirds of customers would prefer a call back option to waiting on hold. If you offer this option, make sure you call back within a reasonable period of time; around 50% of customers would expect a call back within 30 minutes (Customer Service Investigator).  
For some businesses, putting customers on hold is unavoidable. If that's the case for your firm, there are things that you can do to minimise your customers' frustration: 
Change your hold music - a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that playing pop music instead of 'elevator' music makes callers less angry - probably beacause people associate those sorts of instrumentals with waiting or complaining, whereas pop music doesn't prime negative thoughts in the same way.  
Don't choose 'prosocial' music though - surprisingly, the same study found that using prosocial tunes as hold music, i.e those that include messages about behaviours that benefit society like 'Heal the World' actually made people angry.  
Have a fantastic hold script - there are a few components that every hold script should contain: an apology, a request for permission to place the customer on hold, an estimated time that they will be on hold for, and a thank you for agreeing to be put on hold.  
Finally, whenever you have put a customer on hold, ask if they'd be prepared to answer a short survey about their experience. This is such a crucial part of the overall customer experience that it's important to get it as right as you possibly can - learn from your mistakes.  
There's nothing typical about the "Orpington Man"  
Coined by journalists in the 1960's, the phrase "Orpington Man" was used to describe a 'typical' member of the voting public. But while there's nothing wrong with being 'Joe Average', here at Orpington Connected we know that there are lots of men with connections to our town who are far more than just ordinary - and this Father's Day, we thought we'd pay homage to a few of them.  
Charles Darwin - undoubtedly the most famous of our Orpington brethren, the world-renowned naturalist, geologist and biologist worked on his theories of evolution by natural selection in Down House, just south of the beautiful village of Downe. Moving from central London to Downe in September 1842, he remained there until his death in April 1882.  
John Lubbock 1st Baron Avebury - a contemporary of Charles Darwin, Sir John Lubbock was brought up on the High Elms Estate, near Downe. Although he joined the family profession of banking, and served as MP for Maidstone, he's perhaps best known for his significant contributions to archaeology, ethnography and biology - in particular, he is celebrated for having helped to establish archaeology as a scientific discipline and, as a friend of Darwin's, was influential in 19th century debates on evolution.  
Gary Rhodes OBE - Orpington resident Gary Rhodes, English restaurateur and TV chef, known for his distinctive spikey hair, was awarded an OBE in 2006. Famous for his love of British cuisine and has fronted shows such as Masterchef, now spends time promoting his restaurant interests in Dubai.  
Retired Premier League Referees - Orpington based Barry Knight and Steve Bennett both spent time as Premier league referees. Barry Knight in 2005 sent off Newcastle team mates Lee Bowyer and Keiron Dyer for fighting. Barry retired from the Football League in 2008 after injury. Steve Bennett refereed the 2005 League Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool, which Chelsea won 3-2 after extra time. In 2007 Steve officiated in the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, another final that Chelsea triumphed after extra time, by 1 goal to nil. Steve is still connected to Orpington Rovers FC as the Club President. 
Andy Green OBE - St Olaves alumnus Andy Green is the current holder of the World Land Speed Record, and the first person to break the sound barrier on land. On 15 October 1997, he reached 763.035 miles per hour (1,227.986 km/h) - the first supersonic record. 
Jeremy Beadle MBE - former Orpington schoolboy Jeremy Beadle was a television presenter, writer and producer. Rarely off our screens during the 1980s, he was the first mainstream television presenter to have a physical disability. Most impressively, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2001 New Years Honours list for his services to charity - his total charitable fund is estimated to be a whooping £100million.  
Though not all Orpington men can be scientists, adventurers or fundraiser extraordinaires, your own dad is probably just as impressive to you in his own way; don't forget to show him just how proud of him you are this Father's Day!  
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