Groupon and LivingSocial are the latest and greatest coupon giants that offer awesome deals on everything from restaurants and spas to vacations and thrilling excursions. Using these coupon services that offer deep discounts is a surefire way to generate customer interest --but what happens when your phones start ringing? Make sure that when the calls start coming, your business is prepared to handle them. Unless you have a call center routinely set up with adequate call processing and live operators, you may be in for a not so pleasant surprise. Generally, small business owners have phone systems that are not designed to process a high volume of calls. This can result in busy lines, customers waiting on hold for long periods of time, and overflowing (ie. unavailable for use) voice mail boxes. You've paid a lot to generate those calls. Make sure you can handle them.
CNN interviewed the owner of a bed and breakfast who posted a deal for 50% discount for a one-night stay at her Inn. The response to the coupon was unexpected to say the least. The Inn owner said, “We had two computers and three phones and employees waiting to answer. We were answering nonstop, to the point that we had messages backed up on our machine.” Although the deal generated a huge response and interest rate, the owners of the Inn were unable to fully capitalize on the response. The ten guestroom inn was not prepared to accommodate the hundreds of callers wanting to book a room, and neither was their phone system.
So what to do? Depending on the type of business and the volume of calls, consider the number of incoming lines. A busy signal can be good to a point, it shows your callers there's a demand. However, getting a busy signal over and over again might convince the customer that since you're not prepared to take calls, you might not be prepared to provide the service they need. If you do have enough lines, but perhaps don't have enough live people to take calls, a simple call processing setup utilizing voice mail and Message On Hold properly can help your business maximize the return on your marketing investment.
Living Social Communications Director, Marie Griffen told CNN what businesses should anticipate, “You may need to bring in extra help. You are going to have higher call volume, higher traffic to your website." An on hold message reinforcing the elements of a marketing campaign can be a key component to implement before your business’s deal goes public. If you have limited phone lines and an influx of callers at once, more callers are going to be on hold. Use the hold time to yours and your caller’s advantage. Provide callers with information about the deal, and any stipulations that may need to be addressed. Express that the deal gained a lot of interest and that your business is doing their best to accommodate as many customers as possible. Callers will appreciate the message and understand the situation.
Message On Hold is just one excellent way to capitalize on customer service initiatives, especially when generating a lot of first time callers, which is what Living Social or Groupon campaigns are designed to do. You want to make a great first impression with these callers, giving them a sense of the responsive customer service to come if they do business with you.
Although the logic and strategy behind Groupon and Living Social is for businesses to gain exposure, customer trial, and ultimately new clientele and increased revenues, your business needs to have a strategy and infrastructure in place to deal with the interest that is generated. From prepping your staff, to preparing your phone system to handle higher call traffic and callers on hold, you need to consider all the changes that will be necessary to make the most of these exciting new ways to market your business.