When running a small business, there are times when you simply aren’t available to answer the phone.
While missing a couple of calls might not seem like a big deal, they can actually have a massive snowball effect and lead to substantial revenue loss.
Take a step back and put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
It can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t reach the business you are trying to phone.
Every missed call leaves a customer’s issues on the table and convinces them that your business just isn’t the answer to their problems.
And in such a fiercely competitive market, customers are quick to jump ship the moment they have a bad experience with a business.
So, ask yourself these three questions.
First of all; Why do I miss calls?
Second. What is the true cost of missed calls?
And third. How can I stop missing calls and losing customers?
All good questions. Let’s answer each of them so that you can know exactly how missed calls affect your business and what you can do to reduce them.
Table of contents:
- Why do unanswered calls happen?
- The real cost of missing a customer call
- How to reduce missed business calls
1. Why do Unanswered Calls Happen?
In a digital world, phone calls are still the preferred method for customers to get in touch with a business – especially when they need fast answers to their questions.
In fact, according to Small Business Trends, telephone remains the top choice for 60% of customers.
Despite that, missed calls happen.
Most of the time, they can be attributed to an array of factors such as:
- Lack of staff availability
- Inability to provide after-hours calls
- Not prioritising phone-based customer service
- Your staff is too busy focusing on other tasks
- Lacking the right technology to offer customers great phone support
- Getting multiple calls coming in at the same time
However, let’s be frank here – More often than not, small business owners want to be as hands-on as possible in order to keep costs down.
They feel that they have to do everything, from executing business plans to managing finances to answering calls, and beyond.
While spreading themselves too thin, answering every single call becomes a nearly impossible task.
Not to mention, by answering calls themselves, they get pulled in too many directions. This leaves them too frazzled to focus on what really matters – that is, tackling more important tasks and growing the business.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
In that case, you should know that answering your own phone is a surefire way to miss calls…and customers.
No matter how much you try, there are only 24 hours in a day.
This means you can’t answer every call, especially when you’re in a meeting with a client, in the middle of the grocery store or, you know, sleeping.
So, I hate to break this to you, but if you’re answering your own calls you risk missing opportunities and actively harming your business.
I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but you can’t do everything yourself.
You might be thinking, “I’ve been inundated with telemarketing calls lately. So missing a call isn’t such a big deal after all.”
However, there are also lots of customer calls mixed in there.
And every missed customer call may cost your business more than you realise.
Still not convinced? Read on.
I’ll drop some truth bombs about the real cost of missing a call.
2. The Real Cost of Missing a Customer Call
The true loss of a missed call is larger than you think.
In fact, one missed call can cause a domino effect of business faux pas, ones that can cripple your small business.
That is especially true considering that 85% of customers won’t call a second time.
Here is what happens when you miss a customer call:
- You never know what a consumer has in mind when calling you. Maybe they want to make a purchase or book an appointment. This means that you are missing out on potential revenue for your business.
- Every marketing dollar you’ve spent generating that lead gets wasted.
- Your business reputation suffers. Not to mention, fixing your brand’s bad reputation takes time you would otherwise spend adding value to your business.
- You miss out on free marketing opportunities, such as customer referrals and positive word of mouth (WOM).
- Your customers are likely to jump ship, giving other businesses a competitive advantage.
- Even if you win back the customer, you’ll need to overcome a bad first impression.
- Maybe a caller wants to know more about your business before making a purchase. If you get back hours later, you risk losing a lead (and negatively impact your lead conversion rate).
I have also pulled together some of the statistics I’ve found to be most valuable for outlining the real cost of missing a customer call:
- If you miss a call, it takes an average of 8 call attempts to get back in touch (The Brevet Group).
- 60% of customers placed on hold will immediately hang up (Premier Companies).
- 65% of customers have switched to a competitor because of poor customer service (Khoros).
- 80% of customers have switched to a different brand after more than one bad experience (Zendesk).
- 78% of consumers have backed out of a purchase because of poor customer service (Glance).
- Only 13% of customers will recommend a business whose customer service they’ve rated as “very poor” (Qualtrics).
- 90% of consumers believe an “immediate” response is very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of them have defined “immediate” as 10 minutes or less (HubSpot).
- 62% of consumers will share their bad experiences with others (Oberlo).
Once you’ve identified the root of your issue and understand how it is negatively affecting customer experience, it is time to reduce missed calls and make sure you’re delivering exceptional customer support.
3. How to Reduce Missed Business Calls
Typically, you have two options to prevent missed business calls: hiring an in-house receptionist or working with a 24/7 virtual receptionist.
However, while the instinct to hire a traditional receptionist makes intuitive sense, it can be a huge cost for a small business operating on a shoestring budget.
Think – the average salary of a receptionist/telephone operator in Australia is $57,952 per year or $29.72 per hour.
Let alone the cost of recruiting and training them, plus the mandatory employee benefits, sick days, paid vacation, and more.
That’s an expense few small businesses can afford to reduce missed calls, especially when traditional receptionists are unable to provide 24/7 coverage.
A virtual receptionist, on the other hand, is a real agent working for an external provider who will receive calls, take messages and potentially forward calls to your or your team members.
They are always available to answer your calls, and customers won’t even know that they are speaking with someone who is not physically present in your office.
Plus they cost a fraction of what traditional receptionists do, with prices starting from as little as $20 per month (such as the virtual receptionist pricing plans provided by B2B HQ).
You might be thinking that installing a voicemail system is a low-cost alternative to a receptionist that will enable you to solve your missed calls problem.
However, this could further affect your customer service, as most customers don’t tolerate beeps and the so-called “voicemail jail” when they are asked to press numbers on their phones to hear different messages.
In fact, according to Forbes, 80% of callers sent to voicemail won’t even leave a message because they think no one will listen to them.
As I have shared in this post, customers still want to talk to a human being, even in an increasingly digital world.
So, if you want to ensure all of your calls are answered, consider working with a 24/7 professional virtual receptionist.
It will immensely benefit your business as they are able to handle calls any time, including late nights, weekends and holidays without the high costs of a traditional receptionist.
Conclusion: Customer calls are huge opportunities for your business that you cannot afford to miss.
Especially when you’re overwhelmed by a packed schedule, it’s easy to overlook missed calls and therefore lose out on sales.
You can do something about unanswered calls though.
With the help of a virtual receptionist, you can ensure all of your calls are answered round the clock and set up your business for future success.
Looking for the right virtual receptionist to prevent missing those oh-so important customer calls and add value to your business? Explore B2B HQ’s virtual receptionist service plans today, then get started with your 7-day free trial. We’d be happy to help you provide a unique customer service experience!