Missing a single phone call costs businesses on average £1,200 per call according to research by BT Business.

That’s a lot of money to miss out on because you couldn’t answer the phone.

And it quickly adds up when you start to miss two, three, four or more calls per day.

Every missed call is potentially a missed sale with a new customer or, possibly more damaging, a chance for you to damage your reputation in the eyes of an existing customer.

If you miss calls consistently, you can quickly get a reputation for poor customer service and, in the long run, that’s incredibly damaging to your business.

If you are missing calls there are a few options available to you to try and fix the problem, but not all of them provide the same results.

Here’s the top things you can do:

Sending a customer or prospect to voicemail isn’t ideal but it can be a better option than leaving a phone to ring and ring until the customer gets fed up and puts the phone down.

When we say use a professional message we mean use your own voice (not the default automated message on your phone) and use a more personal message explaining why you can’t get to the phone and asking the other person to leave a message with the following details:

While this can help retain some customers, you should be aware that most customers don’t leave voicemails and if you do decide to go down this route, you may have to accept that you’ll lose a lot of customers.

In fact, according to research from Forbes, 80% of callers sent to voicemail don’t bother leaving a message. 

  • Rely on your employees to answer the phone (if you have them)

If you have employees you could (and maybe should) expect them to answer calls that come into the business to ensure calls aren’t being missed.

But, this isn’t ideal.

For one, every call they answer takes them away from the jobs you’re paying them to do, especially when the call isn’t relevant to them and they have to spend time dealing with it (like an unsolicited sales call).

As anyone who has worked in an office will also know, employees aren’t always the most reliable when it comes to answering the phone and taking messages.

If you’ve read our blog on the best ways to answer the phone professionally (you can read it here) you’ll know that incoming calls should be answered within three rings.

Employees don’t always do this though and, often, will let the phone ring for as long as possible in the hope a colleague will answer it instead.

  • Hire a receptionist to deal with your business’ calls

If you’re not comfortable expecting employees to answer the phone, you could always hire a full-time, or part-time, receptionist for your office to take responsibility for answering calls.

On the face of it, this seems like a sensible option, but then you get into the details.

For example, while a receptionist can deal with phone calls, they can only deal with one at a time. As soon as they answer the phone, you’ve lost your call answering function until they put the phone down.

And as a lot of business owners know, calls rarely come through one at a time.

It’s not only when your receptionist answers the phone that you lose phone answering capacity for other calls. You also lose it every time they leave their desk whether it’s to take a break, make a drink or go to the toilet.

And even when they’re not at their desk, you’re still paying them even though they can’t answer the phone.

Manned receptions are also expensive. A full-time receptionist can easily cost in excess of £24,000 a year (£36,000 in London) and when you factor in experience or industry expertise, that cost is going to be higher.

Then you have two other things to consider 

  1. Other expenses you’ll have like holiday and sick pay, taxes, pension contributions etc
  2. The headache, often missed out when employing someone for a receptionist role, who will cover when on lunch, comfort breaks, sickness and planned holidays arise.
  • Use a call centre

If the idea of paying a full-time member of staff just to answer the phone seems a bit excessive, you could look into hiring a call centre to deal with your incoming calls.

Again, on the face of it, this can seem like a good option.

But the details can tell another story.

Call centres don’t provide personalised call answering and can only take messages to pass on.

If a customer has a question, no matter how simple, a call centre can’t answer it – they can only take a message to pass on to you.

Call centres also don’t operate as part of your business, your calls are answered by whichever call agent happens to be free when the phone rings and they follow a very rigid script to take messages for you.

This could work for you depending on your expectations on providing a great service, but they can leave customers frustrated when they have a simple enquiry and can only leave a message.

  • Use a dedicated phone answering service

A dedicated call answering service can provide the best of both worlds in terms of the service your customers will get on the phone, and the costs you’ll incur from your investment.

Unlike a full-time receptionist, you get a team of call agents who’ll deal with your business’ calls so you get the service even when one is engaged. But unlike a call centre, a telephone answering company provides you with a dedicated team and a lead call agent who works on your account.

You know who these call agents are so you can be confident in the people answering your business’ calls.

Also, while these services will follow a script if you want them to to ensure they answer the phone and take messages in the way you want, they can also deal with some basic enquiries directly, meaning you’ll reduce the number of unnecessary calls making it through to your team.

A telephone answering service also allows you to extend your opening hours beyond the usual 9-5 and even allow some weekend call answering so you can continue to take enquiries even when you’re not open.

Finally, a telephone answering service is a lot more cost effective.

Depending on the service agreement you choose, you’ll likely either pay for the volume of calls answered, or the time your team spends on the phone.

Either way you’re only paying for the service you actually use and most contracts are flexible so you can scale your requirements in line with how busy you are.

Get reliable call answering from Face For Business

If you’re starting to worry about how much business you’re losing from missed phone calls, get in touch with us at Face For Business.

Our dedicated call answering teams can help ensure you never miss a call in your business again while making sure your calls are dealt with professionally at all times to keep your customers happy and your reputation intact.

Want to know more?

Why not start a free trial and see the benefits of a call answering service for your business up close