Hello? Hello? Is Anyone There?
Ok, this is partially a rant of mine, and I cannot believe this has to even be a topic that needs to be covered.
The past few days I have noticed a very disconcerting pattern when calling clients as well as my personal experience with contractors. The first example would be from personal use. Recently my wife has gotten on a home improvement kick. And since I am an admitted moron when it comes to anything that deals with home improvement, I suggest finding a local electrician. Considering that was the first project she wanted to work on.
Since I do not have any electrician clients in my local area of Pensacola, FL, my wife went through the usual channels to find one. First searching Google and then posting a link to Facebook asking for suggestions. After getting a list of 3 electricians that were referred to her, she called them on a Monday morning. 1st electrician voicemail; 2nd electrician voicemail; 3rd electrician voicemail…. Ok, for a homeowner who has A LOT OF work to be completed, do you think it may be too much to ask to be able to speak to an individual?
After 24 hours, the 2nd voicemail electrician called back and scheduled a date to come by on Friday, stating that they would call back on Thursday to confirm the meeting and time. By Wednesday, my wife had all the new fixtures and ceiling fans that needed to be installed. On Thursday, she did not receive a call… Guess what happened when she called on Friday? Voicemail.
Now this may be a onetime occurrence in one area of the country. I may be able to fall for that, but when I have our office manager contact clients to set up their Google Places listing and the first 5 clients she called, she has to leave a voice mail? That is the problem. She is not calling our client’s cell phones or home phones. She is calling the number that is right there advertised on their website.
The number where you want people to call.
If you are spending money trying to generate leads for your company, through online marketing, postcards, etc. Why would you not answer your phone? The people that call contractors are people in need. They do not want to leave a voicemail or wait for a call back. They will skip you and move on to the next contractor. Some tips you can do to limit that amount of unanswered phone calls:
1) Use an answering service: Though I am not a big fan of hiring a service that is not entrenched with your company, it is better then the no answer
2) Forward Your Phone: There are great automated forwarding services out there like http://grasshopper.com/ that allow you to use a phone number and bounce it to any number of numbers. This way you know someone will answer the phone.
3) Hire Someone: If you have no one answer the phone, then hire someone to do it. Each time they answer the phone is a potential client for you.
Whatever you decide to do, please, please answer your phone.