Not answering your phone is killing your business


WRITTEN BY Tina Miller ON 24 November 2022

Not answering your phone is killing your business

It used to be unthinkable to have a business and no one answer the phone, however post pandemic and in the age of technology, the future of work is now and with many companies embracing remote, hybrid and virtual working, chat boxes, Twitter, and DM’s …. Please let us not overlook the obvious. If something goes wrong or your customers need to get hold of you quickly, their initial thought is going to be to pick up the phone. Overlooking this basic level of business communication could be costing your organisation and could potentially leave your customers at varying stages of frustration.   

 And obviously, no business works without customers, less obvious is how those vital relationships are developed and retained and a lot of that communication is done in quite a simple manner and that is over the phone.  

Does anyone still care about their business’s reputation?

Whatever the size of your business or organisation, your customers need to believe in your company, they need to believe you are in control and in your brand ethos and that you have the solutions they need, and you, simply need to establish their trust in order to deliver. Failing to answer your phone as the first point of contact gives your callers the impression that you don’t care and breeds doubt and frustration in your products, services, and delivery, simply by not providing the basic principles of business communication. Also let us not forget, that a missed call could be a lost opportunity.  

The consequences of a missed call

If you consider that you miss one call a week, that is 52 potential sales opportunities. In addition, if you are paying for keywords or paid advertising to drive leads to your website, then failing to answer a call from someone who has searched for you via the internet is a cost to you, should they not pursue your services.    

We all agree digital customer service strategies are important, however so is answering your calls and preferably promptly and professionally, this should be a priority. Just think about the impact on your business, the potential lost revenue and poor customer service reviews.  

I can guarantee you that whilst you are reading this someone, somewhere is sat next to a phone ringing right in front of them, choosing instead to let voice mail pick it up, rather than answer it themselves. However, businesses operate by people having conversations with other people about …..well ..business.    

Omission of a whole demographic

DOES EVERYONE NOT HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A CUSTOMER?  

In this digital age you might think that emails or social media messages have surpassed telephone communication, but in fact, 80 percent of all business communications still take place via a phone call. CAN I ALSO JUST SAY Digital exclusion is a real thing… and that is not just based on the number of online errands I have to run for my mother! According to the Office of National Statistics, there are now over 15.5 million people aged 60 or over in the UK, making up 23% of the UK population. There is just so much to unpack here because it also makes me think about generational differences, my 50-year-old client’s pleasure in a good old natter, but my younger clients loathe phone calls and frequently send callers to voicemail or ask my team to ask the caller to send an email, and they rarely have the time for pleasantries either.   

Customer service has hanged, what did I miss?

Recently I have had way too many awful experiences just trying to communicate with businesses, these are the same organisations I’d usually just pick up the phone and call, but of course no one answers their phone anymore. One company I emailed after not getting through by phone, responded by telling me to go to their Twitter page to complain, I mean I just needed a query answered about a return. Not everyone wants to jump on social media to communicate, since when is my query a concern of anyone else, I would just like my query dealt with. Is that too much of an old-fashioned view? I mean should it escalate, and I felt it necessary to spare anyone else the same grief then yes of course maybe Twitter would be the way to go.   

However, if both big and small organisations cannot get their call answering right who is setting examples around here, who is leading the way in customer service, because it certainly isn’t John Lewis, has customer service changed did I miss a trick?!  It was noticeably clear that service standards fell off a cliff during the pandemic as staff worked from home and businesses tried to figure things out. However, there is now no reasons as to why customer service has not returned to normal levels, where courtesy and respect for your custom were standard.  

Listen people if your processes are not working change them! If you cannot answer your calls yourself, get a telephone answering service, any telephone answering service is better than none. At least have someone answer your phone, so that a human can speak to a human and feel acknowledged.  

Rant over.