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When it comes to your inbound phone call strategy, it really is time to dial out the old, ring in the new

A missed call is a missed catch!

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Think about it! When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he also unwittingly conspired to create the most widely recognized, frustration-inducing sound in the world – the busy tone. A sound that all too often signals the fading away of a potential sales lead, with its final, dismal ‘beep, beep, beep’!

Let’s be frank! When someone is trying to reach you to inquire about a service or product that they need, the engaged phone tone, or a phone that rings without being picked up, can really be annoying. We live in a world that encourages a culture of instant gratification and limited patience. So, when potential customers can’t get through to you, they simply scroll to the next search result in Google, or they click on another mobile ad.

At this point, I am reminded of a familiar scene, often featured in older day comic books, of a character who has tried to fix a leaking pipe by himself, standing knee deep in water and desperately trying to get through to a plumber. The sentiment captured in these comic scenes, is akin to what some customers feel when they try to get through to your business phone and fail. It’s very possible that they’ve done plenty of research on you and your competitors, and are standing knee deep in a huge amount of data, while calling for that one vital piece of information that could tip the scales in your favor.

People still prefer the personal touch

In case we haven’t impressed this on you enough in earlier posts, yes, people still prefer to call and speak to a person, rather than communicate with an out-of-sight entity via email or a website. The question is: Are you losing sales opportunities, by not being available on the phone, to these customers? The short answer is: Yes, you are! So what are you going to do about it?

Here’s what not to do

Unfortunately, many companies attempt to do away with the problem completely, in a literal sense. They try to hide their phone number in a place it won’t be easily seen; they highlight an email id upfront, and put their business phone number in such a small-sized font, you’d need a magnifying glass to note it down. This avoidance strategy is a bad idea. All it does is prevent the personal dialog your customers hope to have with you.

Perhaps you too have toyed with the idea of giving fewer people access to your business telephone. After all, it’s too time-consuming to keep answering calls; it’s too difficult to keep answering the same questions over and over again; it upsets customers when they cannot get through to you. When plagued by such thoughts, remind yourself of the research done by Google and Ipsos in 2013: 47% of mobile searchers surveyed, said that if a business did not have a phone number associated with their search results, they were more likely to explore other brands. And 61% found it extremely important to be able to call the business during each phase of decision-making.

So what’s the solution?

There are some really simple solutions to ensure that you never miss another inbound phone call from a potential customer. Don’t worry, you don’t need your own call center or dozens of sales people. You just need to implement a cloud-based IVR system, that directs customers with run-of-the-mill questions, to pre-recorded information that tells them what they want to know. You should also implement voicemail, so your lead can leave a message and a number for you to call back. Just remember to check your voicemail messages regularly, and call back as soon as possible.

Combine strategies to give yourself the edge

You can even combine your web and voice strategies to make a good first impression on potential customers. Here’s how! Set up a form on your website or landing page, that customers can use to make an inquiry. Then implement an auto call-back feature. When a customer fills in the form and clicks on ‘submit’, he or she will receive a call right away, on the number listed in the form. When the call is answered, a recorded message promises the website visitor that a sales executive will be in touch shortly. You don’t need to set up any extra infrastructure to do this. It’s all easily managed in the cloud.

Problem solved? Not quite

Before you dial a cloud telephony company to implement the cost-effective solutions we’ve suggested, you need to decide, who pays for the call. Buyers do want to get in touch with you, but putting the financial burden on your caller, is a costly mistake to make. When people are aware that they are racking up phone bills talking to you, they try to cut the conversation short, denying you the chance to bowl them over with your convincing sales pitch. In such a situation, a toll-free number becomes your best friend. Just remember to opt for a number that is managed in the cloud, so it’s affordable for you and a boon to prospective customers.

And there’s more…

You can even go a step further and improve your phone interactions with your customers, by implementing a call recording feature that records every conversation you have with a customer. Play back later to find out what went wrong, and what you did right, before changing your communication strategy.

In conclusion

When it comes to your inbound phone call strategy, it really is time to dial out the old, ring in the new, and say ‘hello’ to a new way of doing business. You can choose to ignore our advice, or you can put yourself in the shoes of your customer and feel their pain and frustration, before implementing a solution. If you’re missing business opportunities due to missed calls, you really do need to take a call on that.

To know more about it visit our solution page , Missed Call Solutions.

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Mona Pakianathan
Mona Pakianathan
Mona Pakianathan is a freelance writer based in Bangalore. She is fascinated by the use of technology to meet modern marketing goals.

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