“Whenever you call them you always get a person, not a machine.”
This is not the first time I’ve read this statement while reviewing customer report cards. This is actually a pretty common quote. Have you ever heard a consumer say, “I love being placed on hold!” or “I always look forward to the music on hold at XYZ company and remembering all the numbers and extensions to schedule an estimate!” I know why the big companies have this feature: to save their operators time. Just think, if Verizon had a live person answering every single call the moment the phone rang, our Verizon bills would be a lot higher. Their overhead would skyrocket. Therefore, the call screening features are a must for a large company to stay competitive. I also know why the small companies have these features: to save time! Am I right? Think about it: you are working on an estimate and do not want to be interrupted, yet your phone doesn’t stop ringing. How can you get anything done?
Live Person Still Is Best for a Small Business
Your customers will always want to talk to a live person. It is just the way we are all wired. If that is what your customers want, you need to see how you can deliver this request. It might seem like a little thing, but the little things always matter. I’d recommend either having someone answer your calls in house or use a call center. I mentioned a call center as opposed to an answering service. There is a difference! An answering service just takes messages and sends you emails and text messages. A professional call center can actually transfer calls to you, take messages or even schedule appointments.
Whatever you decide, make sure you are readily available for your customers. They are the lifeblood of your business. One final thing – make sure whoever is answering your phone is also positive. I recently listened to a voicemail recording that made me sick. A brand new lead came through, a live person answered the phone but had no positive emotion. She answered the prospect’s questions but did not seem happy to get a phone call. Guess what happened? The prospect I think sensed the cold voice and ended up not scheduling an estimate.
So two things to take away from this blog post: 1. Do what you can to answer your phones and 2. Make sure whoever answers is well-trained.