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Audiology Associates finds its voice with Ooma Office.

By Mike Langberg|Monday August 24, 2020

One of Maryland’s largest hearing-loss clinic chains had a voice problem earlier this year: The existing phone system, patched together from multiple providers across multiple locations, couldn’t easily connect team members to each other or to their patients.

Audiology Associates resolved the confusion by implementing Ooma Office across all 13 of its locations.

“Everyone in each office had good intentions in setting up their own phone system, but the result was chaos,” says Mariah Fletcher, practice manager at Audiology Associates’ corporate office in Parkville, Md.

Audiology Associates provides the full range of hearing and balance health services, including diagnosis, testing and treatment, as well as dispensing and repairing hearing aids. The need for a unified phone system became even greater with the coronavirus outbreak, which closed all of the practice’s clinics in the spring and made connecting with patients more important than ever.

“There’s been a lot of miscommunication with Covid-19 and we always need to help our patients as soon as possible,” Fletcher explains. “Our biggest issue was not being able to transfer client calls from one office to another.”

Ooma Office immediately fixed the problem, because phones in multiple locations can be administered through one online portal, the Ooma Office Manager, that also allows direct extension dialing – including call transfers – between all locations.

Fletcher is now easily managing the phone system across all Audiology Associates locations through Ooma Office Manager, which offers point-and-click simplicity for tasks such as reassigning extensions and phones.

Photo of Mariah Fletcher of Audiology Associates Mariah Fletcher of Audiology Associates.

“I can access all the different locations as the administrator, so I now know exactly what’s happening and where,” Fletcher says.

Fletcher also set up a single Virtual Receptionist – the 24/7 automated attendant in Ooma Office – to answer the main number at each clinic location. This allows callers to simply push a button to reach a different location, including the corporate office, or request updates on important topics such as office hours.

Finally, Fletcher praises the “outstanding” customer service representatives who helped her get Ooma Office quickly up and running, a free service (unlike the paid support from other business phone providers).

“In short, Ooma Office has been a lifesaver,” Fletcher concludes.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.