A potential customer is calling, but you’re not able to take the call. You’ve heard the experts and business gurus say that you should personally answer as many calls as possible, but there will always be times when you’re in a meeting or talking to another customer on the phone, working at a customer site, having lunch, dropping the kids off at school, or on the verge of solving a tricky problem that you don’t want to be distracted from.
That’s what voicemail is for. Right?
Well… that depends on how many potential customers your business can afford to lose.
Studies consistently show that the majority of callers simply hang up if their call goes through to voicemail instead of being answered by a real person:
- 80% of callers who receive a voicemail system hang up. (Fortune Magazine, 2006)
- Callers responding to print, media or telemarketing campaigns are 8 times more likely to leave their information with a live representative than in a voicemail box. (Sales Digest, 2007)
- When responding to RV, Radio or Print Advertising, only 21% of 10,000 customers surveyed said they were likely to leave their name and telephone number on an answering machine, with 68% not likely and 11% unsure. (ABC Advertising via the New York Times, 2008)
- 70% of callers never leave a message when calls are answered by a voicemail service. (Alex Drumheller, 2010)
Averaging that out to 75% means that for every one message that gets left on your voicemail service, three callers have hung up (and quite possibly called one of your competitors). That’s a high percentage of potential business to be turning away, and one that many businesses don’t realise they’re losing.
Let’s repeat that for emphasis. 75% of calls are lost.
Now that you know the problem exists, what are you going to do about it? Many businesses just can’t justify the expense of a full-time receptionist. The good news is that there is an affordable alternative.
For the fraction of the cost of hiring a receptionist, you can subscribe to a Live Answering Service. These services are run out of call centres, which are staffed by professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your “virtual receptionist” greets callers using your business name at times when you’re not available to answer the phone, and immediately sends messages to you via SMS and email. With some plans, the receptionist can even transfer the call directly to you.
For best results, you should select a call centre based in your home country. That way you can be confident that your callers are greeted by someone with good local language skills who is familiar with local customs and sensitivities.
You can select the times of day and conditions (e.g. “busy” or “no answer” at which your calls are redirected to the call centre. And with live answering plans starting from as little as $29 per month, it’s probably one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways out there to increase sales leads.
Again, let’s repeat that for emphasis. Stop losing 75% of your calls from as little as $29 per month.