Homeowners know the perils of hiring a contractor to do work on their house. You get a couple of referrals from friends and family, maybe pull a phone number or two off lists you find online, and cross your fingers. When you start calling around, you soon learn that this isn’t the same consumer world where your every whim and need is satiated by teams of professionals with an outstanding web presence, superb phone manner, and award-winning customer service. The best kitchen remodel might come from a contractor who barely knows how to work his smartphone. And more power to him! When you’re running a small business, you don’t always have the time or resources to excel in areas outside of your wheelhouse. But if you could — what an advantage it is!
In this article, we cover:
- The perils of doing business on the phone.
- The most critical moment on the road to small business success.
- Five common mistakes small businesses make on the phone — and solutions!
For the small business or entrepreneur, managing the phones might be the most critical moment when booking business. As you endeavor to be the master of your craft or get your business off the ground, meeting the sky-high and oftentimes unrealistic expectations of potential clients can seem like an exercise in futility. For you, we offer five common small business mistakes that you should avoid so customers bail on you.
1. Voicemail again?
When a potential client dials you up, it’s not to flirt. They’ve likely done their research and are ready to talk turkey. Imagine getting all fired up to put action to intention, but then bang, you hit a brick wall: voicemail.
It’s not a hypothetical, 80 percent of callers sent to voicemail don’t leave messages because they don’t believe they’ll ever be heard. And they may be right, 30 percent of voicemails don’t get listened to for at least three days, and 20 percent of people that have voicemail never listen to it. In other words, if you allow calls to hit your standard voicemail, you’re missing out on some of your best leads. If you can, answer that phone, or at least have a call answering process that goes beyond basic voicemail (hint: read on).
2. New phone, who dis?
When you do pick up, you better have your game face on. If you’re juggling professional and personal calls all from one line, good luck. You’re going to get mixed up fast. And you don’t want to answer the most important call of your career with a simple “Hello?” Not professional. So how can you discern before you pick up whether that call is business or pleasure? Set up a second phone number. No need for a full-on second handset — this isn’t the stone age. YouMail offers a second phone number so you can manage both of your worlds from one phone in the easiest way possible.
3. Let them out of the maze
It is very off-putting when all a caller wants is to discuss their needs or frustrations with someone, but getting that living, breathing person on the line feels impossible. That’s why there are several websites dedicated to helping callers navigate the complex phone tree obstacle courses that they are often presented.
There is a better way.
Setting up smart routing isn’t just attainable for a small business, it’s a must-have. With YouMail’s Auto Attendant phone system, you can instantly forward any caller to any number you like. It’s simple to set up menu options that get callers to the most relevant number (e.g., 0 for operator, 4 for your personal number, or route them to other phone numbers of your choice).
And unlike forwarding services from wireless carriers, YouMail allows you to enter multiple phone lines and doesn’t force callers into a single number. Plus, YouMail is far more affordable than PBX or IVR, which often costs hundreds of dollars per month.
4. Lose the script
Once callers finally reach you, they want to feel like they’re talking to a compassionate human, not a humorless robot that reads completely off a script. Know your product, know your customers, and hit them in the feels. Demonstrate that you know their pain points. Empathize with their frustrations. Then open the door to the solution to all their problems.
People deal with so many call centers, they can detect when you or your representatives are reading straight out of a playbook. Personalization is where small businesses have the advantage. Don’t squander it.
5. Put your best greeting forward
Knowing that so many callers give up once they’re sent to voicemail, what can you do? You may not have the resources to hire the number of people it would take to answer every single call, particularly outside the limitations of a soulless script-reading call center. And you can’t possibly answer every single call yourself.
We recommend custom voicemail greetings. With YouMail, you can choose from three different types of voicemail greetings: Smart Greetings, Personal Greetings, and Pre-Recorded Greetings from the free YouMail Greetings Catalog. Switch between multiple greetings in an instant or assign different greetings to different callers. You can even leverage YouMail’s massive caller ID database and your address book to generate custom voicemail greetings that includes your caller’s actual name. The greeting sounds just like a live person answered the phone.
That is the kind of personalization it takes to restore a person’s faith in leaving a voicemail (but please make sure you don’t leave them hanging, call them back ASAP).
Now you know the common mistakes small businesses make on the phone and how to avoid them. Subvert them all by checking out the features and plans YouMail offers small businesses and entrepreneurs today.