With growing focus on developing an online and automated experience for their customers, many business owners are disregarding a powerful channel to establish a powerful relationship and convert to sales.
It’s the traditional phone call, which many businesses are ignoring as of late, under the assumption that the digital economy does not consider it “cool” enough. But the studies show something else.
And a missed call (or a call that doesn’t happen) could be a missed customer. By reducing missed calls, you can ensure that no leads slip through the net, while also ensuring that any emergency calls are answered promptly.
In this post I am sharing a few ways in which you can reduce missed business calls. But before we jump straight to the how, it is important to talk a bit about the why.
Most of the marketing budget a business has goes towards generating leads. It goes into content marketing, PR, influencer marketing, SEO, paid advertising. All to the purpose of getting people to visit your website and do business with you. But once they get to your website, how will they be able to contact you?
When someone wants to and calls your business, they are highly engaged, or a warm – hot lead. But as they struggle to find your phone number or they call and have to wait, they begin to lose interest. The harder it is for a potential customer to get in touch with you, the faster they’re going to scour for another solution, a business that makes it easy to communicate with.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about the last time you’ve tried to contact a company about their product/service, or even get in touch with their customer support, only to be put on hold, transferred from one person to another, being required to speak to a robot that wasn’t properly set up, or even worse, dealing with rude staff etc. How did that make you feel?
Enable voicemail messages
The most basic step you can take is allowing voicemail messages. This means that if you do miss a call, a caller can leave a message in order for you to ring them back. This won’t reduce missed calls – but it could give you a chance to call back and respond to their query. This guide https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-give-a-professional-voicemail-greeting-2533703 offers a few tips for setting up a voicemail greeting.
Set up multiple extensions
If you have multiple staff, it could make sense to add multiple extensions rather than having one phone. This allows multiple people to answer calls at once. You could also consider setting up a call menu that directs callers to the right person or department (i.e. ‘press 1 for sales, press 2 for accounts’).
Put callers into a queue
When it comes to busy phone lines, there’s a risk that you could miss callers while someone else is on the line. Putting callers into a queue allows you to attend to each caller in an orderly fashion. Be wary of the fact that less patient callers may be put off by a long queue.
Switch to a virtual phone system
A virtual phone system gives you more flexibility as to where you can answer calls. Callers are able to ring a virtual number which you can answer on multiple devices – allowing you to answer calls on the go. This could be useful if you’re often out of the office. A virtual phone system could include host PBX as detailed here https://www.lingo.com/business/hosted-pbx/. Alternatively, you could opt for a completely virtual phone system (known as a VoIP).
Embrace bluetooth technology
If you’re often driving or doing manual work when the phone rings, consider using bluetooth technology in order to answer calls hands-free. You may be able to answer calls through your car stereo or through a bluetooth headset.
Hire a designated phone receptionist
Another option could be to hire a designated staff member to answer the phone. This could be useful for handling a large volume of calls, preventing you and any other staff members from having to constantly have work interrupted. If you don’t get that many calls in a day, you may not want to hire a staff member solely to this role (in such cases, you may be able to delegate other admin roles to them on top of answering the phone to ensure that they have enough work).
Outsource phone call answering
There are also phone answering companies who you can outsource the job of answering the phone to. This could work out cheaper than hiring a designated phone receptionist, although you won’t be able to keep as close communication with them as an in-house staff member. Make sure to research into companies in order to find one that is reputable.
Some of these options might require you to invest a bit more into technology, hiring or training. It might be difficult to get it all right from the start.
You don’t need to have 5 people answering calls every day if your business is seasonal. However, when you know there’s a surge coming up, like Black Friday, Christmas, or some product launch, make sure there’s at least one person who is answering the calls. And invest in her training, her knowledge of product/service, and more importantly people skills.