Back in the day, phones made a ringing sound and so did cash registers. Merchants would tell employees to answer the phone quickly and professionally because “that’s the sound of the cash register ringing.” Phones now play “ring tones” or songs; cash registers process plastic cards.
But one thing has not changed: the need to answer the phone quickly and professionally. That phone etiquette may sound archaic at a time when most companies rely on voicemail or robots to take and route their calls. Perhaps you recognize some of these automated messages:
- Your call is important to us, so please stay on the line while we tend to more important matters.
- Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed – again, just to mess with you.
- All of our representatives are busy assisting other customers, and since we have only one rep, this could take awhile.
In Hollister Creative’s Customer Journey consulting work, we lead workshops in which company leaders and employees view every encounter with a prospect through the eyes of the prospect. Without fail, one of the most eye-opening sessions is the one in which we explore what happens when a prospect calls.
We start the session by asking workshop participants to describe how they shop for a service they want to buy. Typically, they tell us that they gather information about a few companies that provide this service by searching online or asking people they know. Then they carve out time from their busy day to make calls. If they get voicemail or a robot, they hang up and call the next company on the list.
Then we ask the obvious follow-up questions: How do you think your prospects go about shopping for a service like the one your company sells? What will the prospect do if he calls your company and no one can be bothered to answer the phone? Will he leave a message and wait until you call back? Or will he call your competitors?
Are you ready to to have a conversation about marketing? Email Kim Landry or call 484.829.0021.