Is Toll-Free The Way To Be

Published Date
01 - May - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2005
Is Toll-Free The Way To Be
Devita Saraf, Executive Director, Marketing, Zenith Computers

"Generally, we use our toll-free numbers for pre-sales activity. Customers call up to get detailed information on our products. Toll-free numbers are especially helpful for customers who want to seek information prior to purchasing a product. They call the number, which is routed to our call centre in Mumbai.

"Since we also provide after sales support, we have a different number for this, but this is a charged number and the rates as per local calls. The service provided on these calls is more specialised. The person answering the call identifies the problem and in most cases, engineers personally go to the location to resolve the issue.

"I feel that the option of businesses having toll-free numbers is a good one. It makes the customer more confident when opting for a product from the vendor."

Sandeep Mehrotra, Sales Manager, Adobe Systems India Private Ltd

"Providing support to customers is quintessential for businesses. Now-a-days, having a toll-free number is a trend; every company has one. Besides, customers expect support to be free of cost, so it makes more sense to have a toll-free number. Most customers use our products at work and not every employee has STD facility on their phone. So, in order to make it convenient for such customers to reach us, it makes sense to have a toll-free number which can be accessed from anywhere.

"However, we provide only a basic level of support at the toll-free number. Higher-end support is also given, but it is charged. We have two toll-free numbers-calls are routed to a call centre in the Philippines. Apart from the toll-free numbers, customers can also reach us through e-mail, all of which are answered within 24 hours. Additionally, we also provide online support."

Ruchika Batra,
General Manager, Corporate Communications, Samsung India

"We provide a single toll-free number that caters to the entire country. Customers can seek support for consumer electronics, home appliances, IT and telecom-related queries. We have a dedicated team that answers calls routed to our call centre.

"The queries are varied and deal with installations, technical issues, product features, services or demonstration requests. Basically, customer calls are divided into three tiers-the first handles queries related to product features and general inquires; the second comprises technicians who handle queries that could not be answered by the first tier, and finally, the third comprises managerial level individuals who may handle queries that are not resolved by the first two tiers.

"We believe in servicing customers at all times. Every year, we conduct an annual free service camp where customers can come and seek support. It is during this time that our call centre receives the maximum number of calls."

M Vinayagamurthy, Country Manager, Consumer Support, Hewlett Packard

"Yes, at HP, we do have a toll-free number for customers. There are different phone numbers for different business segments, such as, pre- and post-sales support for the consumer, and commercial and enterprise customers. Pre-sales queries are largely related to price, specifications, availability, taxes and warranty. Post-sales queries are about product usage. But the number is bound by timings. For instance, the toll-free number for consumers is six days a week from 9 am to 9 pm, but callers can reach the toll-free number for the commercial call centre five days a week from 9 am to 5 pm, in accordance with the timings of corporate customers.

"Some calls are routed to the call centre while others are handled by professionals. Our call centre executives are well-trained and undergo rigorous training on product, technical specifications and other details. They are also constantly updated on the new models we introduce.
"It's beneficial for businesses to have toll-free numbers-it's certainly the fastest way a customer can reach HP. The caller doesn't pay for the call. Moreover, it's cost-effective for us, as we can handle a large volume of queries efficiently. Toll-free numbers can offer instant solutions to issues."

Alok Bharadwaj, VP, Canon India Private Limited

"We have set up a national call centre facility to provide pre- and post-sales support to customers. It's extremely convenient for customers as they can call that number from any part of the country and need to only pay local call charges. The call centre is a single point of contact for Canon's customers and plays a critical role in driving business growth and customer satisfaction.

"We respond to each and every customer query without exception. We also have a feedback mechanism wherein we try to see how satisfactorily the customer's problem was resolved. 

"Customer Delight is Canon's theme for this year. For instance, for our copier customers we have launched 24 x 7 service facility for service support. This type of facility is well appreciated in the changing business environment where working hours differ from the conventional 9 to 5 routine."

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