Announced last month, what is the proposed Consumer Telephone Service Standards Bill, what might it involve, and how might this impact your customer service offerings in the future? Let’s take a look.
What is the Consumer Telephone Service Standards Bill?
The Consumer Telephone Service Standards Bill is a Private Members Bill that has been proposed by Conservative MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon. The Bill, which originated in the 2022-23 session of the House of Commons, has begun its 1st reading, and bears similarities to a recent Bill implemented in Spain.
The purpose of the Bill is to reduce wait times for consumers getting in touch with “utilities and certain other services” via phone. To do so, it proposes a maximum waiting time of 10 minutes which will be enforced with a financial penalty.
In addition to this, the use of automated menus will be restricted should this Bill pass. This is to reduce the overall wait time, as opposed to just the time waiting to speak to a real person. After all, if someone has to waste 5 minutes circling through numbered options to key into their device, this is not exactly efficient.
Of course, if this Bill passes through Parliament, this will have significant implications for how businesses provide their customer service – which, in turn, begs the question:
How can customer services meet these new standards, should they pass?
Here are just a few ways that businesses can boost speed, productivity, and efficiency in their customer service provisions, without compromising on quality standards.
Reliable phone system
Improving your infrastructure, or ensuring that it works as reliably as possible, is the first step for making your customer service calls better. Even if your phone system is good, could it be better?
Switching to a VoIP phone system has a whole host of benefits, including the ease of switching between agents and departments through the cloud as part of a unified communications solution.
As a general rule of thumb, VoIP telephony tends to have a better call and line quality, meaning that calls are less likely to drop – and, even if they do, repairs can be made instantly and remotely for less business downtime.
With the PSTN set to be switched off in 2025, VoIP connectivity will ensure that your phone systems will stand the test of time.
Hire more customer service agents
In order to ensure that customers have their calls answered as quickly as possible, it can be a good idea to increase the number of customer service agents you have available.
That said, of course, this all depends on whether you can predict the level of demand you will receive, as overstaffing can be more troublesome than beneficial.
Outsource (within reasonable limits)
If expanding isn’t within your budget, you can look into outsourcing your customer services. However, if you do go down this route, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your in-house agents.
Employ additional training
And last, but not least, train customer service agents more comprehensively. This will allow them to answer customer questions as quickly and accurately as possible, reducing overall call times and the need to put customers back on hold.