We did some research within my cleaning business to track the number of leads we received via the phone compared to through the website against the call history. This was primarily so we could start to measure our conversions from our website and increase the number of cleaning contracts we had.
What we learned, was that callers hated voice mail systems. 1 in 10 Callers would leave a voicemail. Our existing Cleaning Contract Customers were much better and would be more than happy to leave a message. The biggest concerns were leads, who in general would not leave a message at all. Keep in mind, our voicemail, wasn’t my awful voice doing the leave a message thing. I had Professional Voice Message created, but it still didn’t work.
I learned by asking customers and leads why this was the case.
- Time Economics – The time spent leaving a message, could always be used calling others who may answer. Often leads want to speak to someone. Even if they can’t speak to the right person, someone is better than no one.
- Privacy – They don’t want you to know who they are until they know who you are. That’s why people often jump into asking questions about your service before divulging their own details and requirements
- Timing – They are ready to discuss their needs now. Later when you call back, they know they’ll be busy with something else, and will not have either the time or mind space to discuss this later.
- On-Demand Economy – Everyone is so used to get everything on demand, from Music, Moves, TV, Shoes, Clothes and much more. So if they can’t call you and get something now, they’ll call someone who can.
We regularly call leads who don’t answer their mobile phones.
I’m the first one to put my hand up and say I often don’t answer my mobile either.
However, what’s more concerning is that even if we try the business number listed on the website, no one answers or we go to a voicemail. Some even have their mobile’s listed on their website which is more reason to answer EVERY call.
So it’s important to identify in your Industry what are the contact channels your customers expects.
Cleaning Contracts don’t just jump into your lap.
When I need a Tradie, I expect to be able to call a mobile, when I call a florist I understand they operate out of a shop, so would expect a 1300 number, when I contact a National Company I expect a receptionist.
With that in mind, when I’m looking for a local cleaning contractor, I personally would just complete a Webform for a Quote, but so many want to speak with someone and arrange a Site Inspection then and there. Especially for a local contract cleaning business.
We hear the little violin’s being played every day, that it’s hard to get new customers.
Which I don’t disagree with, but if you don’t answer every call that comes into your business, you may just miss that next $4000 a month contract.
We Started Answering The Phone.
No, I didn’t sit in the office all day waiting, but we initially at least put some systems in place to reduce the number of callers that went to voicemail.
To get started answering the phone:
- I arranged to have all calls into the business that were not answered with 4 rings, diverted to my mobile, which any telco can arrange.
- Later, I diverted all of these phone calls to a family friend who I paid a fee for every call she answered (she was a stay at home mum).
- Finally, once our business had grown, due to answering leads, we engaged a 3rd party like Gretchen Operations to simply answer the calls, answer minor questions about our contract cleaning services with customers and take messages. Eventually, this service also managed our Website Chat, made Outbound Calls, booked quotes in etc.
Business is all about the baby steps.
No one expects you to Increase your business by 50% per annum. However, closing the gaps helps.
Answering ALL phone calls, not only reduced my stress, but I knew the team I had answering would only send me details about Leads and Customers, all the cold sales callers disappeared, they were given rules, and they answered the phones well outside our operational hours.
We’ve probably heard the old
If a bear poops in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
in the same light then
If someone calls our business and nobody is around to hear it, does that mean we have no leads.
Whether you are a 1 man band, a management team of one, or you have a team of many, unless someone is purely employed to answer all phone calls, you may be leaving money on the table.