Being small business owners, we go through the joys – and pains – of growth. In 2005 my little start-up (not associated with Halloo) had finally had enough financial resources to make some administrative hires and move into a “real” office. It was a transitional time for technology companies and for many small businesses leasing property at the time, the dot com bust had left a lot of well-furnished offices around the San Francisco bay Area – many of them with legacy furniture, cubicles and even office phone systems.
Like most office phone systems that were inherited as part of a new lease (in our case, sub-lease) we had little to no clue how to operate our Punch-Key PBX system other than to dial out and receive calls. Oft was heard the famous phrase,
“How do I transfer a call on this again?”
Once we figured that out, we thought we were good to go. After all, we were all super-busy. Why take the time to read a manual (where’s the manual?) to learn what the eight other little black buttons on the office phone did?
Wow, was I wrong. Here’s what happened -
In one of the rare moments when I got to sit down at my desk and think about our operations, the day had winded down and most of my coworkers had left. Something one of our sales reps said about not getting enough leads stuck in my head, and I wondered how many leads were left on voicemail boxes for our sales department. What I did next is something I recommend for every business that moves into a new office – I called our sales and support numbers after hours and left this voicemail for each extension -
“Hey guys, this is John. I’m just testing our phone system, if you’re the one that gets this voicemail, will you shoot me an email and let me know you got it ok?”
Guess what happened? No one called.
With our IT manager spending a couple of hours to “figure out” how to retrieve voicemails from various extensions to a single recipient, he tallied over 200 voicemails over two weeks had gone unreturned. Many of them into our sales department. Knowing we sold an application with a quick decision cycle and that we converted 15% of our sales, the calculated potential lost “opportunity cost” was about $17,500!
Talk about the ROI from a 24/7, on-demand live answering service.