A 2015 “Forecasting Utilization of Toll-Free Numbers” report from the North American Numbering Plan Association (NANPA) estimated that by Q1 2018, 100% of toll-free numbers would be in use with a 66% probability of exhaust. In comparison, 85% of numbers were in use in Q2 2015 with a less than 1% chance of exhaust.
Now well into 2018, we see this demand firsthand. Executives can scoff at the idea of focusing on toll-free numbers, but smart companies will work to maximize them for innovating and improving. Here are three ideas to get your wheels turning...
1. Flexibly expand your workforce
Remote work has gone from being a luxury (taboo, even) to a necessity in today’s digital working world. Over 60% of companies already have full-time employees who work out-of-office, and 38% of hiring managers predict that their employees will work predominately remotely 10 years from now.
Companies can quickly and cost-effectively expand by assigning toll-free numbers to remote employees. This is especially important for bridging the skills gap that threatens many organizations today (specialized skills have become a hiring priority in line with digital transformation). As simple as they may seem, toll-free numbers can improve talent shortages and accelerate business outcomes.
2. Quickly scale your support team
Companies can be so focused on adopting next-gen tech like AI, VR and IoT that they overlook the basics of CX. Consider key findings from Dialog Direct’s “Customer Rage” study:
- Only 35% of customers are satisfied on the first contact
- 60% cited “wasted time” as the most damaging aspect of their phone experience
- Only 14% of complaints were resolved on the first contact
Granted, several variables contribute to these issues (i.e. lack of common database, siloed systems, poor-quality communication tools), but it can’t hurt to scale your support team when needed. Quickly onboard new agents, wherever they may be, by assigning them toll-free numbers. Minimize long hold times (most callers believe 60 seconds is too long to be on hold), improve first contact resolution, and establish stronger, lasting customer relationships.
3. Launch a dedicated “give back” number
Sixty-three percent of customers surveyed by Dialog Direct in 2015 said they get nothing from brands they feel have delivered poor service (an increase from 56% in 2013). When asked what they would like in return, customers cited both monetary and non-monetary remedies from a free product or service in the future (44%) to the chance to simply express their anger/tell their side of the story (58%). So, create a platform for customers to receive these things.
With so much emphasis on call center KPIs like handle time and time in queue, a company’s primary toll-free number may not be the best place for customers to express their grievances or discuss monetary returns. Imagine instead referring an upset customer to your dedicated “give back” line where a customer empathy expert is waiting to continue the conversation and make amends. There’s no denying the positive impact this would have on customer relationships and long-term loyalty.
There are so many more ideas we can discuss, especially considering programmable numbers for better flexibility and control. The bottom line is that they are a powerful business tool for differentiating service, transforming customer relationships and improving costs. So, ready to start innovating your use of toll-free numbers?
Ready to take your Toll-Free numbers to the next level? Contact us to see how we can give you choice, automation, and control over your numbers!