This is part one in a two-part series.

When you meet – and exceed – customer expectations, you build a foundation for a stronger business.

Everything about your customers’ interactions with your company plays into whether or not they’ll come back and refer you to their friends and family. According to Forrester Research, nearly 95% of leaders state that providing a good customer experience is a top priority for business growth, and 75% want to use it as a competitive advantage.

How can you be sure that you’re providing customers with what they want – especially when they call into your business? It all starts with these top six customer service basics.

Here’s exactly what your callers expect when they call into your company:

  1. Your customers want to be greeted by a friendly, professional voice.
    When a customer – especially a new customer – calls into your business line, he or she should be greeted promptly, courteously and professionally. Customers want to hear your company’s identifying information, and a personal introduction. For example, a simple, friendly greeting like “Hi – you’ve reached Johnson Pediatrics – this is Toni” works well in every situation. Make your callers feel welcome from the start by training your staff or virtual receptionists to use the same standard greeting with a smile on their face and a friendly, caring, welcoming voice.
  1. Your customers want their problems solved.
    At the heart of every incoming call is a desire to solve a problem. And they don’t want to jump through hoops, explain themselves a dozen times to different staff members or stay on hold endlessly to get the problems solved. Your front-line virtual receptionists or staff should be empowered to answer basic questions and resolve common problems. Customers, patients and other callers are likely to be happier if the problem can be resolved with one associate.
  1. Your customers want to be listened to.
    Cultivating a good relationship with your callers starts by being a good listener. Resist the urge to interrupt or pass the caller along to another party without getting a complete idea of their needs and the problem at hand. Listening and understanding the situation first before taking action will foster a positive relationship with that customer.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at three more essential customer service basics that callers expect when they call into your business.