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The Secret Is Out: Why Customers Call Customer Service Before Purchasing

6 min to read · By Mindful

In today’s hyper-connected environment, customer service happens before a customer has purchased from you.

They might need assistance thinking through a complex problem, have a question about your product or service, or need assurance before committing to a purchase. So they reach out for answers.

Meeting customers in the consideration stage of their buyer’s journey is a prime opportunity to satisfy them early on and turn them into satisfied, repeat customers. In fact, 70% of customers say the quality of customer service has affected their decision to make a purchase, according to the 2022 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends report.

But how can you wow potential customers if you’ve only just met or have never interacted with them?

You can create an exceptional customer experience and exceed a customer’s expectations every time—even on their very first call with your customer service team.

Customers call when they need info or confidence.

While there are a wide variety of reasons a customer might call before buying, we’ve found the boil down to two primary needs when reaching out to a human for answers.

Customers want more information about a product.

For some products or services, potential customers might need more clarity and information before committing to a purchase. Chances are they’ve researched your business alongside your competitor’s and want to gain more insight into what sets you apart. When you’re able to succinctly walk them through the advantages of working with your company, you can organically move them down the your sales funnel.

For instance, telecom companies may receive a lot of calls from potential customers who need more information about personal and business phone plans. While customers might be able to self-serve through an online FAQ page or knowledge portal, many still reach out to customer service departments to hear direct information about monthly bills, cost per line, data limits, and surcharges.

The telecom company who trains their customer service agents to answer these pre-purchase questions quickly and easily will acquire and retain customers thanks to ease of doing business.

Customers need help with complex situations.

Some potential customers may call your contact center with a complex situation they need help sorting out. And if you’re able to help them navigate their problem, their positive experience will keep your business top of mind when they’re ready to make a purchase decision.

The finance industry provides a perfect example. People looking to make large financial decisions—like buying a home, moving retirement accounts, or engaging in other high-cost scenarios—likely want to interact with a real human when making decisions. These scenarios are so much more complex than can be answered on a FAQ page or knowledge portal. They want real assurance from an agent that their finances are in good hands. Otherwise, they’ll find another bank or advisor they can trust.

Similar to customers with product or service questions, companies that have agents who are well-equipped to walk potential customers through complex scenarios and provide a human touch every step of the way will naturally find more customers coming through their front door.

Tools and strategies can create exceptional pre-customer experiences.

Employing well-equipped and knowledgable agents is only half the battle. If you want to win more consideration-stage buyers to your business, you need to adopt tools and strategies that support your goals and agents while providing an exceptional customer experience.

1. Virtual queues

If the first thing customers face when calling your business for help is a long hold time, you’ve lost them. Or worse: They wait on hold only to vent their frustration to a service agent—racking up telephony costs, reducing contact center productivity, and demoralizing your workforce.

Virtual queue technology (like Mindful Callback) can help reduce hold times and boost customer sentiment toward your brand. Rather than wait on hold after calling your business, they can opt in for a callback from the next available representative or schedule a call later in the day or week.

Our research shows that callers who opt for a callback rather than waiting on traditional hold are:

  • Happier with their agent interactions
  • More likely to have higher first call resolution (FCR) rates
  • More likely to recommend a business to friends or family

When callers feel you’re prioritizing their time, you create a positive customer experience they’ll carry with them when considering purchasing from your business.

Related: See all the ways customer service callback creates the best customer experience.

2. Speech sentiment analysis

Even the best note-taking customer service agents can miss critical information and nuance when listening to a caller over the phone. Why not take some of the burden off their shoulders and let AI help?

Speech sentiment analysis tools use AI to transcribe calls and analyze them based on factors like the customer’s tone, talking speed, and word choice. These tools can identify both designated and industry-specific keywords, long pauses, and emotional cues, which can all help you gain insight into how your customer felt while on the phone. After completing the call, agents and managers can analyze it to recognize patterns in emotions that result in positive or negative calls and experiences.

This might seem re-active rather than pro-active, but regularly analyzing conversations with callers in the consideration stage of the buyers journey can help customer service and sales teams create better scripts and training programs to guide future callers closer to making a purchase.

3. Connected support channels

People hate having to repeat themselves to customer support teams. According to Zendesk, 71% of consumers expect their information to flow seamlessly between support channels. So, whether they first contact your business through a self-service channel like a website chatbot, or they interact with an agent through email or text, their information and context needs to travel with them across channels if you hope to delight them with your customer service.

Your company needs to eliminate customer data silos to make channel transitions silky smooth. Tools like Mindful Handoff work across support channels to collect caller intent, carry customer context across support channels (like text, chatbot, and phone call), and ensure that customers never have to start at square one when interacting with an agent.

The result is a seamless customer experience that they’ll remember as they continue to consider your products and services.

4. Agent training

Customer experience training is essential for customer-facing agents so they know how to provide a certain standard of service. Delivering an exceptional customer experience is a skill, and you should help your agents improve that skill. Consider providing training in areas like:

  • Moving customers through the funnel: Give your agents actionable takeaways for moving customers from one stage of the funnel to the next. Identify tactics that have worked in the past and build on those with new ideas.
  • Navigating challenging or frustrating situations: It’s difficult to speak to a customer who’s angry or upset. Your agents need training on how to handle those difficult situations. Conduct role-play training where you act out these examples so your agents can practice their responses in a low-stakes environment.
  • Using the tools and technologies your agents need to do their jobs: It’s beneficial to give your agents training on best practices for the tools they use every day. Try to do these training events as a video with screen recordings where they can see the tool in action.

Ongoing training is beneficial to your agents so they’re always up-to-date and informed. Training events should be held regularly, as well as any time there is a change or update, like a new product launch or a policy change.

Summing up: Agents are the secret to improved acquisition

No matter where your customers are in their journey, your agents can use customer service skills and tools to turn them into loyal, happy, repeat customers. All it takes is equipping your agents to get there.

Mindful provides a suite of capabilities that facilitate helpful, effective calls for both the customer and the agent. Rather than silo customers to single support channels, Mindful allows them to transition between channels and escalate to phone support without losing context—meaning customers get the help they need, when they need it, and in their preferred channel.

Schedule a demo to see how you can make your customers’ purchasing experiences even better with Mindful

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