Nike, Samsung, Coca Cola – do you think if they miss or screw up a phone call their business will take a hit?
Of course not (unless it’s really serious, in which case they can afford PR wizards). But for regular businesses that graft, make a good earning yet aren’t able to coast on a century of cultural awareness, a phone call can lead to opportunities that greatly boost your company’s prospects. Whether it’s a new client with good work and good money or an old connection with a load of referrals with your name on it, a phone call can ignite something beautiful.
Beyond new opportunities, phone calls remain a staple of maintaining business relationships. Communicating with clients and partners will require a good phone manner, and if you’re missing their calls regularly or not sounding professional in your conduct, they might think you don’t like them. Seriously though, it can be damaging to your business. Here are 3 catastrophic consequences of poor call handling:
Your Productivity Will Perish
Many SMEs fall prey to incessant sales and recruitment phone calls. They’re not inherently bad, but they can make the phone ring constantly. Now let’s put that into context. If your employees are frequently answering the phone without anything fruitful coming about by the end of it (i.e. “Sorry, we’re not interested.”), then their productivity is being pillaged. When a productive mindset is interrupted – in this case by a phone call – it takes on average 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to it.
As you and your team’s productive mindsets continues to be reset by the indefatigable calls of the sales and recruitment call swarm, it’ll gradually erode away at work output until your whole business is reduced to inefficient, preoccupied jelly, which as we know is the worst kind.
You’ll Forget Something REALLY Important
Of course, there are important phone calls nestled between the distracting, uninvited ones. Without a dedicated receptionist - that for many SMEs isn’t financially viable – it can be difficult to document all your calls and the arrangements made via them. In the half dozen calls you’ve taken this hour, one of them mentioned a deadline for a business proposal that, if accepted, could start bringing in a lot of money.
But in the thick of your work and subduing the multiple recruiters, it slipped your mind to document it. The deadline passes and the big lead, under time constraints, gave the work to a competitor. You slip into a deep, dark funk and the office radio switches from Capital FM to something more wistful, perhaps Smooth FM. The company hears so much Lionel Richie that its employees resign, citing the need to look for Mr Richie, possibly even all night long.
Your Phone Manner Will Frighten Everyone Off
"You've got 5 seconds to impress me before I put the phone down and suck resentfully on my piña colada."
Look, your skillset in the business is X, Y and Z - you’re not a professional receptionist. We get that. But your impatience with the barrage of phone calls is starting to show. You sighed immediately after you breathed out your stock greeting in that last call, and she actually enquired about a service you offer! Your initial weariness shook her confidence in your business and as they say, first impressions can’t be returned as faulty. She turns out to be a big player on LinkedIn and shares her bad experience with all her business associates. Your business becomes a pariah in the industry and you have to downsize to a lemonade stall that sneaks in one lime for every three lemon because you can't even afford to keep it pure.
This sort of mistake is forgivable now and again, but customer service and phone etiquette are skills and they’re important if you want to get the most out of your phone calls. If your phone handling lacks these then people are going to form a negative opinion about your business and it’ll suffer accordingly.
When you handle business calls poorly, whether you miss them, are swamped by them or are conducting yourself poorly when you take them, your whole company suffers. Thankfully, you may have noticed we’re experts in telephone answering solutions. Did you know that businesses have claimed a 50% increase in productivity when using a telephone answering service? There’s a lot more a telephone answering service can do, but we won’t indulge in a shameless plug here. Just know, catastrophes can be avoided…