What happens when a customer, either a current customer or a potential customer, calls to make an enquiry about one of your products or services and there’s no one to answer their call?
If you believe they’ll leave a message asking you to call them back or get around to calling again at another time, you’re sadly mistaken; in fact, you’re fooling yourself.
Sure, there are times when a current customer has no choice but to call back – though they’re not going to be too pleased at having to do so – and potential customers with no existing associations or obligations to your business, do you think they’ll simply hang up and call again at a time that’s convenient for you? It’s safe to say you already know the answer to that question.
There have been a number of studies conducted by various organisations into the percentage of callers who hang up after realising they’re not going to speak to a ‘real person’, but rather a machine, and the results are alarming for businesses that haven’t invested in an around-the-clock telephone presence – a worrisomely high percentage of people will hang up, with many calling a competing business immediately afterwards.
However, a high percentage of callers – as high as 82 percent according to one study – were happy to leave a message with a ‘real person’, even though they weren’t able to speak directly to the person they’d called to speak to.
What this means for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) – SMEs are less likely to be able to staff their offices 24/7 than larger businesses – is that help is at hand in the form of call centres to which they can outsource their call handling needs.
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Maintaining an Around-the-Clock Telephone Presence
It’s safe to say that you understand why it’s important to maintain a telephone presence that enables your customers, both current and future, to speak to someone when they call, even if it isn’t the person who they intended to speak to, but what options are available to you?
You have a number of excellent options available, including outsourcing your call handling needs to a dedicated call centre, an excellent option that many businesses have found highly advantageous.
Outsourcing to a call centre is an excellent means of ensuring that your business has a 24/7 telephone presence in place, though does that mean you should outsource all your call handling needs?
No, it doesn’t, and in fact, a high percentage of small to medium-sized businesses don’t find it advantageous to outsource all of their call handling needs, with many outsourcing afterhours call handling and others outsourcing when there’s no one available to answer the phones during the working day, for instance, when the receptionist is away on holiday or sick leave.
A high percentage of SMEs find it advantageous to outsource call handling – afterhours, emergency, overflow call handling, media response, etc. – for reasons that include the following:
They’re able to make an outstanding first impression on every current or prospective customer that calls.
With experienced, qualified staff answering incoming phone calls in your business name you’re going to make an excellent impression, first or otherwise, on those who call your phone lines to make enquiries.
The importance of making excellent first impressions and providing outstanding customer experiences is an aspect of conducting business that no business organisation can afford to overlook.
Outsourcing call handling to a call centre usually proves more cost-effective than keeping it in-house.
Afterhours and similar considerations aside, outsourcing call handling to an agency proves much more cost-effective because businesses are able to reduce their reliance on fulltime employees, plus they eliminate the need to train them and provide them with expensive equipment to work with and office space to work from.
They can eliminate distractions that prevent their core staff from concentrating on their work, thus increasing workplace productivity.
Answering the phone is a distraction, one that impedes an employee’s ability to concentrate and focus upon the task at hand. When call handling is outsourced, the distraction is eliminated and the employee is more productive.
These reasons, and many more, are frequently cited by businesses that have found it advantageous to outsource some, if not all of their call handling needs, to a call centre staffed by highly trained, experienced individuals well-versed in call handling techniques that deliver outstanding customer experiences.
This is something that every business needs to take seriously in a day and age of social media where word of customer experiences, particularly poor customer experiences, have a tendency to spread like wildfire.
To ensure you never miss a customer’s call, and therefore a business opportunity that could go to one of your competitors, don’t you think it’s about time you invested in your telephone presence by outsourcing your call handling needs?