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Here’s some bad news: you might be leaking potential customers like a boat with a giant, gaping hole—sending potential customers flocking to your competitors because of what's often an afterthought: your business's phones and phone system.
In this blog post, I'll show you 11 critical mistakes businesses make when it comes to their phone systems that, quite literally (and backed up by studies), make customers hang up and instead call your competitors.
More importantly, I'll show you a fairly simple solution that can reclaim these lost customers in less than 30 days.
Here are the 11 problems many businesses have with their phone systems that quite simply cause new customer leads to go cold:
- Excessive hold times.
A survey conducted by Google in 2012 found that professionals and executives are only willing to wait on hold one minute or less on average. Over half said they wouldn’t wait at all. So, it’s essential to have a maximum of 60 second (ideally less than 30 second) hold times.
- Not having valuable on-hold messaging.
Studies have shown that having relevant, helpful, and reassuring on-hold messages not only keeps callers on hold for up to 3 minutes longer, but one study found that 88% of callers preferred recorded messages including specials over other hold options, and 20% said they’ve made a purchase based on an on-hold promo.
Not responding to voice mails quickly enough.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.
How quickly are you getting voicemails? Are you receiving them in your email with an audio attachment so you can quickly listen to the message and return the call? If not, you’re potentially losing customers.
Not giving sales and other critical employees direct phone numbers.
Do your warm prospects have to navigate through a menu or an inquisitive receptionist to reach the sales person they’ve already talked to? That’s a big no-no. You want to make doing business with you as easy as possible. Even the smallest apparent hurdle can turn off a customer from calling you.
Not having an automated attendant menu.
When someone isn't there to answer your office's phone calls, do the calls ring endlessly to a phone that no one picks up or go straight to a voice mailbox that isn’t checked at least once per hour? If so, you could literally be losing customers as they turn to a more available competitor.
It’s best to provide callers with an automated attendant, which is a menu with an announcement that gives the caller options, e.g. “Thank you for calling XYZ Inc. … For sales, press 1. For support, press 2,” etc. This gives the customers an easy decision—and an easy way to reach people who can help them.
Not knowing where your calls are coming from.
Imagine you call Acme Corp’s sales department and they answer, “Accounting Department, how may I help you?” How confused would you be, not to mention underwhelmed by their lack of professionalism?
Well, if you don’t know exactly where your calls are coming from or what callers might be looking for, you’re sending that signal right now to potential customers. If a sales lead is calling, you’d probably handle that call differently than if it were a complaint or a technical support question, right?
Modern, cloud-based PBXs let you have different queues or even dedicated phone numbers for various departments, so you know who’s calling and can send a clear image of professionalism to potential customers.
Not knowing how your employees are spending their time.
In any business, real estate and salaries are often the largest expenses by far. And you aren’t paying employees to sit around and talk on the phone.
But what if your “rockstar” new programmer is actually talking to his or her spouse for 2 hours a day? Most businesses have little, if any, easy insight into their call records.
Too many phone numbers to reach you.
If you’re putting two or more phone numbers into your email signature, forcing people to decide how best to reach you on the phone, you could be leaving business on the table.
If you’d like to make it easier to interact and do business with you, consider the professional image you’d convey by giving people just one number to reach you.
Poor customer service—and no way to track it.
What if your customers love your product or service but are disappointed with your phone-based customer service? What if it’s making you lose long-time, previously loyal customers?
Paying way too much for minor changes or maintenance.
Whether it’s a new extension or desk phone you need installed for a new employee, or a simple update to your phone system that requires an expensive software license renewal and a $400 labor charge, you could be paying way too much for basic maintenance and management of your phone system.
Spending way too much on phone service.
What’s your phone bill every month? If you’re a business with less than 20 employees and you’re spending $200-$400 or more on your phone bill, you owe it to yourself to get a cost savings assessment of your phone bill.
What's the solution for all these problems?
A modern, cloud-based phone system (also called a PBX). Cloud-based PBXs solve all the problems above and require no equipment other than phones (and you may already have compatible phones). It can potentially cut your monthly phone bill up to 70% and it allows you to work from anywhere—customers and other folks won't even know you're not in the office!
If you think your business phone system isn't up to snuff and doesn't offer the above features, or you simply want to learn more about cloud-based phone systems, you might consider requesting a free consultation and cost savings assessment to learn more.
Click here to request your free phone cost savings analysis now.
Your free cost savings analysis includes a conversation about your current phone system solution, your business challenges, and we’ll look at your current phone bill and let you know whether we can help reduce your monthly phone bill.