Occasionally missing calls to your business may seem like a trivial matter in the grand scheme of things. After all, callers can always leave a voicemail, right?
But research shows that missed business calls are actually an expensive risk.
Consider these missed call statistics: Consumer Reports found that not getting a live person on the phone was the top customer service irritant among U.S. consumers—and 75% of those surveyed said that experience left them “highly annoyed.” (Surveys have also shown that many callers simply hang up if they don’t reach a live person.)
And for some businesses, not immediately answering just one phone call can result in thousands—or tens of thousands—of dollars in missed revenue.
“As a personal injury firm in a very competitive field, missing phone calls from potential clients is incredibly frustrating,” says Jordan W. Peagler, owner and partner of MKP Law Group in Los Angeles. “If we miss an initial phone call, the chance of converting a received call into a potential client plummets. They simply call the next available competitor and will likely end up hiring whoever answers first.”
The price of missed calls
How much of a revenue hit a business takes from missed calls will depend on the industry. Companies with high-value transactions—such as law firms, home services providers, builders and contractors, auto mechanics, professional services firms, consulting firms and healthcare providers—may stand to lose thousands every time they miss out on a new client.
But even industries with lower typical transaction values can lose hundreds or thousands in potential long-term revenue by not picking up the phone—especially because they could miss out on the opportunity to win a long-term repeat customer.
Consider a restaurant. If someone calls to reserve a table or ask a question and nobody answers, they may assume the restaurant is closed—or worse, they may take it as a sign that the restaurant is overwhelmed and has poor customer service.
“A missed business call gives the impression of being uninterested in your clients and has an impact on business relations,” says Norhanie Pangulima, a marketing strategist at Toronto-based Nine Peaks Media. “This results in irate customers giving negative feedback and a damaged reputation.”
How to make sure every call is answered
So, how can a business ensure every call is answered to minimize the risk of lost revenue? Here are six strategies:
1. Make answering calls a top priority.
When the business is open, make sure every incoming call is answered promptly. If your employees are often tied up serving other customers when the phone rings, appoint someone as the official “receptionist”—whether it’s that person’s sole duty or not.
2. Maximize your business phone features.
Your business phone system can greatly boost the odds that every call gets answered. For example, Spectrum Business Voice lets you set up “simultaneous ring,” so that every inbound call rings on multiple phones at the same time—reducing the odds that someone won’t answer it.
Advanced call-forwarding features also allow you to set up “hunt groups” so that if the first person on your team doesn’t answer a call after a certain number of rings, it will automatically and seamlessly direct that call to another team member.
3. Consider hiring a virtual receptionist
A virtual receptionist or call-answering service can pick up your calls when you’re unavailable. Many virtual receptionists today learn about your business and customer practices, acting as an extension of your team—so customers may not know the difference.
Peagler’s law firm uses an answering service during evenings, weekends and other non-business hours. The operator takes down every caller’s name, contact number and reason for the call and then quickly emails that information to the firm.
“This allows us to call the potential client back immediately after they have tried to contact our office,” he says. “Since we’ve hired the call-answering service, we can rest assured that we aren’t ignoring potential clients and can follow up quickly. It’s been an absolute game-changer.”
4. Forward your business calls to mobile when you’re on-the-go.
Your mobile phone can be your best friend when it comes to catching business calls when you’re away from your desk. Forward all incoming calls to your mobile phone so both phones ring.
5. Appoint a vacation time contact.
When you take time off or go on vacation, designate someone on your team as your fill-in contact. Make sure your incoming calls are forwarded to this person and provide them any relevant information they need to assist customers, respond to callers and book appointments—such as by giving them access to your electronic calendar.
6. Check your voicemail regularly.
In case some calls do slip through the cracks, make sure to check your voicemail regularly throughout the business day, such as hourly. Voicemail-to-email, a feature offered by Spectrum Business Voice, allows you to have all voicemails automatically emailed to you as audio files, so you get voicemails instantly and don’t have to log into your voicemail portal to retrieve them.
Don’t underestimate the potential cost of missing business calls. Every call that comes in could be your next loyal customer—as long as someone picks up the phone.
Spectrum Business Voice provides many features that can help businesses ensure all calls get answered and responded to promptly. Learn more by calling us at 855-299-9353.Print this article