We don’t know about you, but we’ve got better things to do with our time than wait around for businesses to answer the phone.
There’s work to do, errands to run, kids to pick up, dinner to make, Netflix shows to watch.
Who’s got time to wait 20 minutes on hold waiting for a call agent to pick up the phone so we can talk to them – and then they usually put us back on hold.
Call answering in business is too easily overlooked.
As a result, the average person will spend about 43 days of their life on hold.
43 days spent listening to silence or, worse, some questionable hold music right out of the 60s.
Despite what you might think about all the digital communication channels available, there’s nothing like talking to an actual person when you need something.
Most of us would still prefer to talk to someone on the phone when dealing with a small business, or when we need to talk about something specific or particularly personal.
As a business, your customer service starts from the moment a customer tries to get in touch. And that includes answering the phone promptly when the time comes.
Here are the top reasons your business call answering should be prompt, and professional.
It makes a better impression
Impressions are quickly made, and long lasting.
First impressions can be formed between 7 seconds and two minutes during a first interaction – and if most of that is spent on hold or waiting for someone to answer the phone, you’re in trouble.
The call centre industry standard is for 80% of calls to be answered within 20 seconds.
But, 20 seconds is a LONG time to wait.
Just hold your phone up to your ear and count to 20 (we’ll wait while you do it).
Are you really going to wait that long for a response?
Neither is your customer.
Answering the phone promptly makes a much better impression and proves you take your customer service seriously.
It shows you value a caller’s time (and business)
Customer experience is a big thing in business.
It always has been, but more so now because customers have so many choices over what to buy and who to buy from that often experience is the only differentiator.
How you answer the phone can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth, even if you don’t mean to.
It’s easy to let the phone ring a bit longer while you finish that job you’ve been doing for the last 45 minutes.
What’s a few more seconds?
But that’s your customers’ time you’re eating in to. And if you leave them waiting, and then put them on hold, they can start to think you don’t value their time.
We’ve all been there.
Answering the phone quickly proves that for that interaction, your customers’ time and business is the most important thing. And that’s essential for the customer experience.
Especially as customers say feeling unappreciated is the number one reason they’d switch products or services.
It shows you have people available when they’re needed
Most customers say an ‘immediate’ response is essential or very important when they need an issue resolved or have a question.
This starts with having someone available to talk to quickly when a customer gets in touch.
Having people available to answer the phone quickly provides customers with confidence that your business is there for them when they need you.
It reduces the chance of escalating problems
Sometimes things will go wrong in business. It’s inevitable.
Your service won’t work 100% correctly. A customer will have an issue with a product.
There’s no getting around it.
The best thing you can do is be there when your customer needs the problem resolved.
If you make them wait on the phone, you risk the situation escalating (even when it could have just been a quick fix).
This is bad because if customers think they’ve had a poor experience, even just one, you could lose them.
About 80% of customers say they would move to a competitor after one bad experience.
Don’t take the risk on bad call answering
Call answering is one cog in the wheel of your customer service, but it’s an important one and when it stops working it throws everything out of sync.
Having a person on the other end of the phone for customers to talk to when they have a question or need something resolved can save a lot of time and potentially bigger problems down the line.
If you want to professionalise your telephone answering, one answer is to use a telephone answering service.
We can ensure all your calls are answered promptly and professionally (we answer 99.3% of calls within 3 rings and have handled nearly 3 million calls over the years).
Want to know more?
13th November, 2023
Posted by Face For Business