Occasionally I’ll be asked to name the single most important thing a business can do to improve their office’s external communications.
My reply to them is always the same:
“Simple. Make sure your callers can easily get to a live person.”
This answer surprises people but – it shouldn’t. Here’s why:
- In our experience up to 80% of folks who call a business or non-profit for the first time and encounter a busy signal or voice-mail call elsewhere
- Over 90% of those same folks won’t leave a message in voice mail
- Up to 70% of repeat callers won’t leave a voice mail message
- Up to 75% feel they haven’t reached “a real business”
- Busy signals especially indicate management doesn’t care about people calling their office.
Even more interesting – if you ask business owners or managers with offices that don’t answer phones with a live person, if they are looking to both grow their business and deliver excellent customer service, all will say yes….
And, the biggest handicap to fixing this problem is not money or resources but the simple mindset of denial. What I call the “yes but we’re different or special so this doesn’t apply to me or my company” syndrome.
I also hear:
- A lot of our customers communicate with us by email (because you’re compelling them to do so…)
- Our customers are “used to” reaching us by leaving messages instead of speaking to us live…(because you leave them no other choice; not a good business practice…)
- Our customers don’t really need to reach us by phone that often (you give customers a phone number for a reason, yes?)
The best time to show a caller that yours is the type of quality business with which they can trust to invest their time and money is when the caller has the time to do so…which is when they call you! …And get a recording?! Or are forced to send you an email?
The good news: any business that feels like “they are too busy” to answer their phones by a live person is probably a fairly successful business!
The bad news: they are missing easy opportunities to grow their business and improve their customer service.
Back to more good news: this is easily done by implementing procedures to ensure incoming calls are answered by a live person, such as:
- call queuing
- automatic call distribution
- delayed ring to mobile phones
- phone system call apps for mobile phones
These are just some of the many very affordable capabilities that are available to get businesses off desk/cell phone voice mails and other customer alienators so that they can enjoy the growth and excellent customer service that reaching a live person by phone can provide.
The solutions are there. A small amount of time taken to explore & implement those that best fit your business will reap you many happy returns.
If you want help finding and setting up phone answering options to fit your company’s needs, call me @813-276-1666/toll free 866-459-7266 – or, if you prefer, email me directly at email@example.com