What You Can Do to Fix the Problem
Even in an age of email and mobile apps, many customers still prefer to do business over the phone. Businesses that don’t make the effort to answer incoming calls — and to provide polite, informed service when they do — risk losing out on potential sales and can even suffer from serious reputation damage. Here are a few reasons why your organization shouldn’t give up on the telephone just yet:
- Customers Engage Better Over the Phone
For all their convenience, websites and email are both relatively passive media. In order to get the information they need, customers have to either know where to look or know what to ask.
While this is fine if someone already has an idea what they want, it leaves you with little opportunity to make a sale. Customers who call in are likely have more of a vague idea of what they are looking for and will want to engage in a conversation. For this reason, don’t brush off incoming callers. Talking to them, answering their questions and providing guidance can easily turn an on-the-fence customer to a guaranteed sale.
- A Phone Call Is Your First Chance to Make a Great Impression
The positive effect of a good phone conversation is often subtle, but the alternative — unanswered calls, taking too long to return messages — can make a lasting negative impression. When you make yourself available, and when staff have informed answers to a caller’s questions, it creates immediate goodwill that can easily translate to a sale.
- Phone Calls Build Customer Loyalty
Your goal as a small business isn’t just to make one sale — it’s to earn lifelong customers. You’re more likely to do that when you develop a personal relationship with your clients. In this regard, a phone conversation is second only to a face-to-face meeting in its ability to build a personal connection. Conversely, when a customer has to shop online, they are more liable to look around and purchase elsewhere in the future.
- Professional Phone Services Raise Your Profile
As a growing business, you may not be able to afford a fancy office in a trendy part of town. That doesn’t mean you can’t give the appearance of professionalism when customers call you up. Investing in an automated phone answering service or a toll-free number makes you look like a larger business, which in turn instills greater confidence in customers and sets you apart from the competition.
What Does Good Phone Service Look Like?
For these reasons and more, there’s clear value to being better on the phone. But what does “better” look like? Two things that can make or break a customer’s experience include:
- Availability: First and foremost, adequate resources should be set aside to ensure a potential customer can always reach your team by phone. Busy signals are frustrating enough on their own, and not answering gives callers the impression you just don’t care. If you’re struggling to handle a high volume of incoming calls, consider looking at phone answering systems that can route callers to the appropriate department automatically.
- Knowledge and demeanor: Customers want to speak with someone who is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The best way to make this happen is to prevent surprises. Make sure your team has adequate information going into a call and that the person answering is the best staff member to address their questions and concerns. For example, someone calling with a warranty complaint about a product can quickly grow frustrated if the person they are speaking with isn’t qualified to address the issue.
AccessDirect offers sophisticated solutions for both of the above challenges. Our business phone systems help you and your team stay accessible, prioritize important incoming calls, and route customers to the appropriate person. Contact our office today to learn more.